FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, September 19, 2005

Shale Oil Becoming Economically Viable

Rising oil prices are making oil extracted from shale an economically viable energy source. Shell Oil claims it can process oil from shale for about $30 a barrel -- profitable for Shell while being far below current oil prices -- and generate about 3 million barrels a day.

As with most energy solutions, oil from shale is no quick fix. Shell will not know whether the process is truly viable commercially until 2010. But as an alternative energy source, shale oil is nonetheless worth exploiting; research shows that oil shale deposits in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah could yield 800 billion barrels of oil. That's three times the size of Saudi oil deposits, and enough oil to meet a quarter of the US's current oil consumption for the next 400 years!

Shell is developing an environmentally friendly in situ process for extraction, meaning that the shale can be electrically heated to extract the oil directly from the ground without having to mine the shale.

Source: FuturePundit