Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra India (PressExposure) September 20, 2007 -- Bharat Book Bureau, a leading market information aggregator has put forth a report âUS Oil Shale Market Potential â([http://www.bharatbook.com/detail.asp?id=25995])
An enormous resource base of unconventional oil exists in the United States. It is abundant, easy to locate, and just waiting to be transformed into fuel for cars, planes, and homes. So why do we import vast quantities of oil from the Middle East when huge deposits of oil shale, tar sands and heavy oil are sitting in our own backyard?
Until recently these âunconventionalâ resources were considered economically and/or technically unfeasible to produce. However, as oil prices escalate and technology drives the development and production costs for unconventionals down, these secure resources are looking more and more attractive and viable.
Oil Shale: The term oil shale refers to any sedimentary rock containing solid bituminous material that can be released as a petroleum-like liquid when the rock is heated. Because oil shale contains enough oil to burn without any additional processing, it is sometimes known as "the rock that burns."
Oil shale can be mined and processed to generate oil similar to that which comes from conventional oil wells; however, extracting oil from oil shale is more complicated and costly than conventional oil recovery. The oil substances in oil shale are solid and cannot be pumped directly out of the ground. Rather, the shale must be mined and then heated to a high temperature (a process called retorting); the resulting liquid is then separated and collected. An alternative but currently experimental process, referred to as in-situ retorting, involves heating the oil shale while it is still underground and then pumping the resulting liquid to the surface.
The Worldâs Largest Oil Shale Deposits: The largest known oil shale deposits in the world are in the Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. The estimated oil resource within the Green River Formation ranges from 1.5 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels. About 1 trillion barrels are located within the Piceance Basin, which means that this 1,200 square mile area of western Colorado potentially holds as much oil as the entire worldâs proven oil reserves.
Market Potential: It is becoming increasingly clear that Americaâs reliance on oil as a principal energy source is not sustainable over the long term. As a result of rising petroleum prices and improving extraction techniques, oil shale deposits may be recoverable in the future at a cost that could make them an attractive alternative to conventional crude oil.
Aggressive R&D is needed to discover and advance new approaches to recovering and producing shale oil. This will require a significant investment in long-range, high-risk research and development. Without a government commitment and significant public investment, industry investment in the long-term, high-risk basic research and applied oil shale technology R&D needed to make mining, retorting and processing oil shale more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally benign may not be adequate to meet the nationâs needs and achieve domestic energy production goals.
Challenges to Developing a Large-Scale Oil Shale Industry: There are numerous challenges to developing a large-scale oil shale industry in the U.S., including land use issues, environmental impacts, infrastructure needs, market risks, investment risks, and overall socioeconomic impacts. Surface retorting causes extensive permanent changes to surface topography as a result of mining and spent shale disposal. In addition, uncertainty exists regarding the impact of in-situ retorting on the quality of groundwater.
Future Potential: A domestic oil shale industry could provide the needed bridge between conventional petroleum and alternative energy sources. It is conceivable that a 2-million barrel per day shale oil industry could be developed in the U.S. by 2020. By most estimates, the recoverable oil contained in U.S. oil shale deposits exceeds one trillion barrels. U.S. oil shale is among the richest and most geographically concentrated in the world.
Future development of this rich and massive resource will require access to the deposits, technology maturation, large capital investments, and stable, reliable government policies and incentives that create a receptive climate for industry investment. In light of current world events and the lead time required to turn investment decisions into actual fuel production, the time seems right to recognize and pursue the potential of U.S. oil shale and to include oil shale in the mix of energy resources, policies, and programs to sustain U.S. economic growth and vitality and bolster national energy security. For more information, Please visit : [http://www.bharatbook.com/detail.asp?id=25995]
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