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. New Oil Shale Technology Under Development

Map of Oil shale deposits in the Green River deposits of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.
by Staff Writers
UPI Correspondent
Washington (UPI) Jan 15, 2007
A U.S. Department of Energy project has demonstrated the viability of a new technology that might unlock the nation's largest potential source of oil.

Government scientists say the United States holds more than three-fourths of the world's estimated 2.6 trillion barrels of oil-in-place of oil shale, with 1.1 trillion barrels of oil equivalent believed recoverable in the richest single deposit -- the Green River formation of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming -- a volume nearly 50 percent greater than the conventional oil reserves of the entire Middle East.

Oil shale contains a substance called kerogen that is thought to be a precursor to petroleum. Kerogen cannot be extracted like oil that is pumped from a reservoir. The oil shale rock must be heated to a high temperature and the resulting liquid must be separated and collected.

The project involves a technology that can heat oil shale in situ, several thousand feet below the surface, separating kerogen without mining the oil shale rock.

By eliminating mining and large-scale processing aspects of oil shale development, such in situ technology could slash recovery costs by half or more while minimizing disturbance of the land, researchers said.

Source: United Press International

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Jakarta (AFP) Jan 09, 2007
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