I assume it is true. those that subsist on grants are crying for more grants.
the part that is not at all true is that the 1979 DOE study spawned the shale gas and oil revolution.
the wells completed in that time with DOE funding were found to rely almost entirely on natural fracture porosity and permeability, which is a production enhancing natural feature, but not mandatory for commercial production.
decades of private enterprise and billions of private funds risked spawned the shale boom, not 6 guys with some grant money. hydraulic fracturing was around for over 30 years prior to that study. for a cup of coffee I or thousands of others could have explained that even though often naturally fractured but a low permeability rock, shale reservoirs require hydraulic fracturing to produce economically, basically what the 1979 DOE report states.
what did keep shale on the radar in the late 80s and early 90s was TAX breaks for exploration. about one in 2000 wells were diligently “studied” by DOE. these tax breaks expired, but by then private industry had it figured out vertically. once married with horizontal drilling technology of the late 90s and 2000s, it went nuts.