America's Next Oil Boom
It is becoming increasingly clear that the United States must develop its vast oil shale resources. The richest Green River Formation oil shale zones are equal to, or richer in grade than oil sands produced commercially in Alberta. An estimated 400 billion barrels, in-place, are of 30 gal/ton or better. A high quality resource base, as measured by high grade and easy accessibility, is necessary to realize modest supply cost. Modest supply costs have been shown in Alberta to be necessary to warrant large capital investments.
There are substantial differences between the two resources in terms of ore mechanics, recovery conditions, and product qualities that require new technologies, and adaptations of technologies used in related industries, to produce oil from oil shale. Comparison of known mass and energy balances for oil sands with those calculated for oil shale strongly suggests that oil shale should experience similar profit potential. Products from oil shale will be more paraffinic, less alicyclic and less aromatic assuring good market acceptance. Environmental issues, while similar in nature, may have differing impacts and solutions, and these will need to be mitigated.
Oil shale has a similar business model to oil sands; that is, there is no discovery risk, high recovery efficiency, long-term dependability, but high capital costs. Considering that it may take more than a decade to establish an oil shale industry, that new supply is currently needed, and that product prices will almost certainly remain firm, a government-industry push to develop these resources now seems warranted.
With mining, the oil shale is/can be mined either by traditional underground mining or strip-mined from the ground and then transported to a processing facility. At the facility, the shale is heated to 450–500 °C and enriched with hydrogen (via introduction of superheated steam). The resulting oil is then separated from the waste material.
With in-situ processing, the shale is fractured and heated underground to release gases and oils. Most of these methods are still experimental.
The Shell Oil Company has been developing a new method under the name the Mahogany Research Project that uses electrical heating in Colorado, some 200 miles (320 km) west of Denver. A heating element is lowered into the well and allowed to heat the kerogen over a period of approximately four years, slowly converting it into oils and gases, which are then pumped to the surface. This greatly reduces the footprint of extraction operations—to no more than a conventional oil well. It could also potentially extract more oil from a given area of land, as the wells can reach much deeper than surface strip-mines can.
Over the past 125 years, oil shale has been the oil resource for a handful of nations. Those fortunate enough to have it include…
But all these countries’ oil shale resources pale in comparison to the U.S. supply. As you can see from the table above, the United States dominates the oil shale market — with over 72% of the world’s oil shale resources. Our gargantuan supply of oil lies beneath an area called the Green River Formation — a barren stretch of land covering portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. World-renowned geologist Walter Youngquist calls the oil beneath the Green River Formation, “a national treasure.” Congress calls this area simply, “the next Saudi Arabia.”
There are over 16,000 square miles of oil shale in the Green River formation... Each acre holds 2 million barrels of oil — it’s the most concentrated energy source on earth, according to the Energy Department.
The federal government owns 80% of this oil-rich land. In fact, the government placed protective legislation on this land in 1930, forbidding anyone to touch it. You see, the government always knew this land was saturated with oil — but getting it out has always been expensive.
On August 8, 2005, President Bush signed into law, a mandate lifting the protective legislation on the Green River Formation. This mandate is called The Energy Policy Act of 2005. It calls for the opening phases of oil extraction in the Green River Formation – the world’s most concentrated energy source. We’re finally ready to tap the largest oil reserve on the planet…
Of the 2 trillion barrels of proven oil in the Green River Formation — between 800 billion and 1.2 trillion barrels are recoverable. That’s the amount of oil we can actually get out and use.
(Full Report , see Link#1 below)
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Report Shown above : http://www.stansberr...405-OIL-COL.asp
Wikipedia Entry... : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_oil
Senate 12 Apr.2005 : http://energy.senate...Witness_ID=2934