Tight oil and deepwater project economics are often presented very differently. Methodologies and investment metrics vary – but should they? What if we look at both the same way? How do the economics compare? And does this help to explain some of the mixed messages on the value of the tight oil sector? We conclude: - Presenting tight oil economics on a well-only basis, focusing on IRR, can be misleading. - Like deepwater valuations, tight oil needs to be considered on a full-cycle basis. - The economics of deepwater projects and tight oil wells can appear very different or very similar – it just depends what metric you prefer to guide your investment decisions. - The profit-investment ratio – how much ‘bang for your buck’ – is a better measure for comparing the two investment propositions than NPV or IRR. - Deepwater projects do have higher geological risk but risk cannot be ignored in tight oil, especially as the upfront capital requirements increase with industrialisation.