For sceptics, there are big, unanswered questions about tight oil. Chief among these are that tight oil has failed to generate adequate cash flow, profits and returns; that the technical challenge is oversimplified and production targets are overly optimistic; and that management is incentivised to favour growth over value. Our view is more sanguine, a reflection of our base case for tight oil, built on play-by-play and company-by-company analysis. We calculate that the five leading tight-oil specialists will start to deliver significant positive free cash flow in three years time, based on our US$66/bbl Brent (US$63/bbl WTI) oil price assumption for 2020. But there aremany risks. Tight oil is highly sensitive to oil price. The extent of sweet spots and the future evolution of well recovery and productivity are also critical unknowns.The myopia of a sector focused on growth could also threaten cash generation and value.