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Shale Oil : America's Next Oil Boom ?


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#1 DrBubb

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:31 PM

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.

Mining
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.

In-situ
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.

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Over the past 125 years, oil shale has been the oil resource for a handful of nations. Those fortunate enough to have it include…

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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.

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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)

= = = = =
LINKS
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
The market is "bipolar", swinging back and forth from a focus on Inflation to Deflation. Bet on swings; and stay flexible. What are bipolar markets? See: http://tinyurl.com/GEI-Manix

#2 DrBubb

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 07:14 PM

REALITY BITES : Many Problems for Shale Oil
=============

American oil companies abandoned oil shale demonstration facilities in the 1980's on the grounds that production was not economically viable. More recently, an oil shale demonstration plant in Queensland, Australia produced 700,000 barrels of oil between 2001 and 2003, and oil shale remains a major energy source for Estonia. At President Bush's direction and with encouragement from this summer's Energy Bill, the Bureau of Land Management sought applications from companies for small-scale research, development, and demonstration projects, for which 18 companies have applied.

"Oil shale" typically is not shale and does not contain oil, but rather is a rock known as marl containing organic compounds like kerogen. When heated to high temperatures (referred to as "retorting"), one can obtain an oil-like substance from the rock which can be refined to produce a transportation fuel. Bubba of Belly of the Beast, who worked for two years on attempted commercialization of oil shale, describes the process this way:

If you heat this shale to 700 degrees F you will turn this organic carbon (kerogen) into the nastiest, stinkiest, gooiest, pile of oil-like crap that you can imagine. Then if you send it through the gnarliest oil refinery on the planet you can make this s*** into transportation fuel. In the mean time you have created all kinds of nasty byproducts, have polluted the air and groundwater of wherever you have extracted it.

The fact that large quantities of heat are required to obtain a usable fuel from the rock means that this is a far less efficient source of energy than conventional oil. Shell claims it can produce 3.5 units of energy for every unit input, though one wonders whether the energy content of all the inputs is taken into account in such figures. The lower this ratio, the more the cost of producing oil from shale would rise as energy prices go up. Another implication of the high energy needs for processing is that significantly more greenhouse gases are released per barrel of usable fuel produced. Concerns about greenhouse emissions appear to have been the basis on which Greenpeace succeeded in closing down the Australian demonstration plant.

Queensland oil shale mine
The rock expands in size upon heating, meaning you can't put it back in the ground, and it is carcinogenic. Two metric tons of rock are required to obtain a barrel of synthetic crude. Mark in Mexico (hat tip: Ace) spells out the logistical problems that this raises:

Try to imagine the hole a 33,400,000,000,000 tonne excavation would make. Hello, China. Try to imagine the mountain of waste rock (carcinogenic) because the rock expands, kind of like popcorn, when it is heated to remove the kerogen, so more has to go back than is removed. Hello, Icarus. Try to imagine the poisons produced by the processing of all that shale if it is done above ground, or all the dead fish if it is done in situ. Hello, King of the Wasteland-- the Ayatollah of rock-'n-rolla.

Three barrels of water are needed per barrel of oil produced, and it is not clear how current users of that water might be persuaded to surrender its use for oil shale.

Shell is working on an in situ retorting technology, in which the rock could be heated without being removed from the mountain. They claim to be able to produce oil at a cost of $30 per barrel, and in situ processing should reduce the environmental, energy, and water costs.

...MORE: http://www.econbrows...hale_retor.html
The market is "bipolar", swinging back and forth from a focus on Inflation to Deflation. Bet on swings; and stay flexible. What are bipolar markets? See: http://tinyurl.com/GEI-Manix

#3 malco

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 10:01 PM

Matt Simmons has described the exploitation of the Alberta tar sands as "turning gold into lead". The process takes high value inputs (potable water and nat gas) in large quantities and turns them into a lower value product (very low quality crude oil).

These deposits will probably never be exploited in any extensive way. It is difficult for us to grasp that something may be there but that does not mean it can be extracted in any useful way. Aluminium is one of the commonest elements in the Earth's crust, but it is an expensive metal because it is so energy-intensive to purefy. The same lesson will increasingly be the case with low-quality oil deposits.

Every cubic mile of sea water contains a tonne of dissolved gold (£26,000,000). How many gold extraction plants have ever been built?
Will economics be single-handed?

#4 needle

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 02:28 AM

Matt Simmons has described the exploitation of the Alberta tar sands as "turning gold into lead". The process takes high value inputs (potable water and nat gas) in large quantities and turns them into a lower value product (very low quality crude oil).

These deposits will probably never be exploited in any extensive way. It is difficult for us to grasp that something may be there but that does not mean it can be extracted in any useful way. Aluminium is one of the commonest elements in the Earth's crust, but it is an expensive metal because it is so energy-intensive to purefy. The same lesson will increasingly be the case with low-quality oil deposits.

Every cubic mile of sea water contains a tonne of dissolved gold (£26,000,000). How many gold extraction plants have ever been built?

I seem to be the "nay-sayer" on here quite a bit. Its embarrassing really.
Glad someone else agrees.

If it gets to this point (oil sands) oil will be so expensive as to be useless to the general public.

#5 THEBIGMAN

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:18 AM

http://www.psyfitec....ns-paradox.html

We can not sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.





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