Massive shale oil reserves in Utah and Colorado

The reserves are massive but not yet technologically exploitable. I have little doubt that human ingenuity will prevail and before too long. It is just a matter of time and engineering before this oil starts flowing.

Malthusians must be gnashing their teeth as “Peak Oil”  is pushed back – again – by a few hundred years!!

ABC News:

Drillers in Utah and Colorado are poking into a massive shale deposit trying to find a way to unlock oil reserves that are so vast they would swamp OPEC.

A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that if half of the oil bound up in the rock of the Green River Formation could be recovered it would be “equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.”

Both the GAO and private industry estimate the amount of oil recoverable to be 3 trillion barrels.

“In the past 100 years — in all of human history — we have consumed 1 trillion barrels of oil. There are several times that much here,” said Roger Day, vice president for operations for American Shale Oil (AMSO).

The Green River drilling is beginning as shale mining is booming in the U.S. and a report by the International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will become the world’s largest oil producer by 2020. That flood of oil can have major implications for the U.S. economy as well as the country’s foreign policy which has been based on a growing scarcity of oil. …..

The cost of extracting the Green River oil at the moment would be higher than what it could be sold for. And there are significant environmental obstacles. ….. Nevertheless, the federal government has authorized six experimental drilling leases on federal land in an effort to find a way to tap into the riches of the Green River Formation. …….

Getting oil from Green River shale is a different proposition than getting gas and oil from other sites by using the controversial method of “fracking,” fracturing the underground rock with pressurized, chemical-infused water.

The hydrocarbons in Green River shale are more intimately bound up with the rock, so that fracking cannot release them. The shale has to be heated to 5,000 degrees Farenheit before it will give up its oil. ….

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2 Responses to “Massive shale oil reserves in Utah and Colorado”

  1. Dave Says:

    Worth noting that Green River hydrocarbons are not really oil, “pre-oil” is better, Kerogen is the right term. It has to be chemically altered (heated) to actually make normal oil.

    Also, Kerogen is more normally called “oil shale” to, err, differentiate it from “shale oil” (which is the proper oil you get from fracking of shales).

    re “The cost of extracting the Green River oil at the moment would be higher than what it could be sold for. “, Although there are non-economic processes used where needs must (countries with no oil), there are now claims that there is at least one economic solution (at-surface resource (which most of Green River is not), small pilot project has worked, senior oil thrown some petty cash in).

  2. Jeremy Boak Says:

    The terms “oil shale” for the rock and “shale oil” for the product of pyrolysis of the rock have been in use for more than one hundred years. The tight (impermeable) formations like the Bakken and Eagle Ford that contain liquid hydrocarbons might better be called oil-bearing shale, and the product “shale-hosted oil” if the confusion the commenter raises is ever to be resolved. Some in industry are calling these products “tight oil,” although I have never seen oil behave in a manner I would call tight. Tight-rock oil might be appropriate, but isn’t catching on. “Kerogen” is not more normally called oil shale. Kerogen is the organic matter in oil shale, and in all oil source rocks, including the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Niobrara, Haynesville, etc.
    Shale oil production from oil shale is profitable in Estonia, where both public and private companies produce it, and is also produced in China and Brazil, where the economics are harder to determine. Hundreds of millions of dollars (apparently Dave’s idea of petty cash) has been spent on development of oil shale, and production is currently scheduled to come on line in the U. S. in 2014 by Red Leaf Resources and in 2019 by Enefit (the Estonian national energy company), both in Utah, which is more progressive on oil shale development than the Federal government, and has state and private land available.

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