Sunday, June 03, 2007

Shale oil's time may have arrived

Is shale oil a bridge: to a renewable energy future?
"Shale oil's time may have arrived
Experts cite new technology, high crude prices

By JOE CARROLL
Bloomberg News

Colorado and Utah have as much oil as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Nigeria, Kuwait, Libya, Angola, Algeria, Indonesia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates combined.

That's not science fiction. Trapped in limestone up to 200 feet thick in the two Rocky Mountain states is enough so-called shale oil to rival OPEC and supply the U.S. for a century.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., the two biggest U.S. energy companies, and Royal Dutch Shell are spending $100 million a year testing new methods to separate the oil from the stone for as little as $30 a barrel. A growing number of industry executives and analysts say new technology and high prices make the idea feasible.

'The breakthrough is that now the oil companies have a way of getting this oil out of the ground without the massive energy and manpower costs that killed these projects in the 1970s,' said Pete Stark, an analyst at IHS, an Englewood, Colo., research firm. 'All the shale rocks in the world are going to be revisited now to see how much oil they contain.'"

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