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Something that struck Brian Price as odd when he started selling chemicals to shale producers a few years ago was how few of them were thinking about whether the fracturing additives they pumped might cause trouble downhole. The man who is now vice president of technology and strategic optimism at Rockwater Energy Solutions--yes, it is optimism--had spent years working offshore. Engineers working in the Gulf of Mexico worried about the possible impact of chemicals pumped into highly permeable sandstone reservoirs made up of minerals such as quartz and feldspar. Both are fairly inert compared to the highly reactive mix in shale formations. While the job of offshore teams is to methodically consider how to maximize production from a few high-cost wells that are expected to produce for decades, those in the shale business have used standard designs to mass-produce wells in bad-quality rock, with a goal of maximizing production in year one.