Bob Morris Posted on Wed May 16, 2012 5:45 am .
Just because shale oil is theoretically recoverable doesn’t mean it’s economically or environmentally desirable to do so.
Steve Hynd explains why.
The author of the extensive discussion on a strikingly commenter-unfriendly website reveals mostly that he knows nothing current about oil shale production. His descriptions are exaggerated, his assertions about cost do not agree with published data which give prices in the range of $38-62/barrel for reasonable rate of return. Oil shale is not a solution for next week, but government actions that retard its development do little but stall a potential resource from being examined and tested broadly. Luckily, modern commercial retorting technology is already in the planning stages for implementation on land not held by the Federal government. Shale oil could be produced from oil shale in the next two years, if the last permit is granted in a timely fashion.
The Green River Formation does not underly wilderness areas, and the most beautiful part of the Roan Plateau in Colorado was excluded from leasing even under Bush’s expansive leasing plan.
Shell’s approach for shale oil production does not involve hydraulic fracturing – the main water uses would be for steam condensation in power plants and for remediation of the heated blocks. The water use for a barrel of oil is half that of a two liter bottle of sweetened cola. Air and water pollution will only occur if fifty years of environmental regulation fails utterly. The extremist doomsaying of Steve Hynd should generally be ignored, at least when he holds forth on oil shale.
Jeremy Boak, DirectorCenter for Oil Shale Technology and ResearchColorado School of MinesViewpoints are mine, not positions of the Colorado School of Mines
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