Shale projects have a certain stigma around them. Over a decade into the US shale boom, many investors still doubt the value proposition. The recurrent question is whether operators can truly generate acceptable full-cycle returns when every single cost is accounted for. We studied a number of historic shale projects in their entirety to help answer the question. By focusing on shale assets that were sold over the past few years, we are able to put clear figures and hard data around the themes that many investors and E&Ps fear regarding shale value: expensive land can easily ruin unconventional project metrics and even render plays that have rock bottom development well breakevens uneconomic on a full-cycle basis.