The US 'shale gas revolution' cut the price of gas by more than half and is reported to have created around half a million jobs.
At the same time it's partially replaced coal - helping the US to cut its carbon emissions. It's little wonder the phrase 'US style' shale gas revolution is so widely used. But is it plausible to imagine the same thing will happen here?
Following on from our analysis of Boris Johnson's claims on shale we look at key differences between the US and UK and assess their impact:
1) The US has more gas than we do.
The US has a bounty of shale gas. In 2011 the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimated that it has a total recoverable reserve of 862trn cubic feet. By contrast the estimate for the UK was 20trn cubic feet.
That works out as 2.7trn cubic feet of shale per million Americans, versus about 0.3 per million Brits. Some suggest the UK shale reserve is around double the EIA estimate, but the point remains.
This is likely to be mirrored in production terms.
A report by the Energy Contract Company, covered in the FT, suggests yearly production of 2.1m cubic feet a day by 2030.
Cuadrilla has recently supplied figures to Poyry suggesting they could extract almost exactly the same amount each year from the Bowland shale alone by 2035.
That's about 21% of total UK demand. This scenario leaves the UK 58% dependent on imports - compared to 78% without shale.
Production in the US is around ten times that, far more per head and, taking into account its conventional supplies, leaves the country almost self sufficient for gas.
Ultimately though nobody really knows the extent of UK shale gas reserves until testing is complete. Higher volumes would benefit the UK's balance of trade - and the treasury's tax revenues - but do little to impact on price (see below).
2) Their gas was locked in - ours can be sold to the highest bidder
Gas is hard to export, you can either pipe it or freeze it and put it - under high pressure - into a specially designed tanker - Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
When the shale gas started flowing in the US they had very little export infrastructure. All the gas that flowed went into the domestic market.
Thanks to its North Sea infrastructure the UK is already a 'gas hub' with two European interconnector pipelines and large LNG infrastructure.
Indeed, despite falling North Sea production and rising imports, UK exports actually reached record levels last year.
It's hard to have a gas glut in a gas hub. Instead, just like North Sea oil, UK shale gas will be sold to highest bidder from around the world and so do little - on its own - to alter UK prices.
Instead the price in the UK will depend on the regional and global price of gas - just as it does now - no matter how much shale we produce.
A recent estimate by Poyry found that, taking into account likely UK and global production, UK gas prices would be 2-4% lower than they otherwise would have been without shale.
The IEA has estimated that prices in Europe will remain around 40% above their 2010 levels (a little above current levels) in a scenario in which most of the world's best shale reserves are used.
3) The economics are different
Once you've drilled a well - or lots of wells - it makes sense to keep producing from it/them even if the price falls lower than you were expecting.
In the US shale came on stream just as the economy flat-lined, crashing the price well below what anyone predicted.
Earlier this year the price fell as low as $1.73 but has now risen to $3.30 and is expected to average $3.49 in 2013 (a little over half UK levels) compared to $2.77 in 2012.
As a consequence the number of drilling rigs in the US has almost halved since the start of the year, with the EIA forecasting a drop in shale gas production in 2013.
Such a scenario is unlikely in the UK - especially as shale gas can be exported to more lucrative markets - shale here is likely to be sold at least 'at cost'.
4) The geology and costs are different
There is some debate over whether the geology in the UK and Europe is as promising as that in the US.
The IEA believes extracting the gas in Europe is between two and three times more expensive thanks to different geology and regulation.
Professor Paul Stevens from Chatham House has argued that fracking using current US technology won't work here.
"The geology for shale gas is much less promising than in the United States. In general the deposits are deeper, the materiality in terms of gas deposits lower and the basins smaller. The plays are more fragmented and the shale is richer in clay."
Early experiences in Europe's most developed shale market, Poland, have not been promising. The country dramatically revised down its reserve estimates and saw oil and gas giant Exxon leave, blaming problems getting the gas out of the ground.
However the British Geological Survey (BGS) appear to disagree with Professor Stevens and even argue our geology may be more promising - endorsing Cuadrilla's claims that UK shale is thicker than that in the US.
"I just took one example and compared it with America. They have a much greater thickness of shales. The greater thickness of shale, the more gas you are going to get. Their figure, in my opinion, is more reliable than mine."
One thing alone is for sure, the geology is not the same.
5) We don't own the land under our feet (Her Majesty does)
In the US you own the land under your feet and most of the initial fracking was vertical - straight down. In the UK you don't, and a lot of the drilling will be horizontal under ground.
That means, in the US, if a farmer finds shale under his land, he may become a rich man. If that shale extends under the land of his neighbours, they too may become wealthy.
In the UK if a farmer finds shale under his land he might be able to sell the land to a firm with a liscense to explore in his area. They have lots of options of farms to buy and are unlikely to make him rich. They may then - depending on regulations - frack deep under his neighbour's land.
They just get to admire the view. People are far more willing to have things in their backyard, if they also make them rich.
That said shale in the UK may make Her Majesty's government richer (or less skint), boost the balance of payments and generate direct employment in extraction and the supply chain.
It's just unlikely to attract the same kind of local support as it does in the US, potentially limiting scope for drilling.