Even producers didn't realize their rapid increase in natural gas production would so quickly flood the market and cause prices to collapse.
Just five years ago, industry leaders were planning dozens of liquefied natural gas import facilities that would allow the country to bring in natural gas produced in other parts of the world.
Today, the natural gas industry is trying to increase demand by promoting use in electricity generation and as fuel for cars and trucks.
Some in the industry also are looking to build liquefied natural gas export terminals on the same sites where they wanted to build import facilities just a few years ago.
The change has made the politicians' talk of energy independence possible and created new challenges and opportunities for the industry and the country.
To learn more
Read the second part of a series on energy