Shale End All Our Problems?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by ShoeshineBoy, May 30, 2008.

  1. Can this really solve all our problems? Will the environmentalists let us do it??

    Getting Oil From A Stone
    By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 4:20 PM PT

    Energy: Exxon Mobil's CEO says his energy company's "corporate social responsibility" is to produce more energy. While Congress wants to tax oil profits, he wants to spend them to find more oil. What a concept.


    IBD Series: Breaking The Back Of High Oil


    While some companies like British Petroleum run endless ads touting their capitulation to the global warming religion by saying they are "beyond" petroleum, Exxon Mobil has been refreshingly unapologetic about developing the resources beneath our feet and making money doing it.

    Speaking to reporters after the annual meeting of Exxon stockholders Wednesday, CEO Rex Tillerson shoved political correctness aside and insisted the science on climate change is not settled and "that to not have a debate on it is irresponsible" and that to "suggest we know everything about these issues is irresponsible."

    Also irresponsible is to ignore the growing energy requirements of the U.S. and world economy, hoping they will be met solely by sources such as biofuels which actually harm the environment by leading to cutting down forests and disturbing the soil to plant crops destined for our gas tanks, releasing huge amounts of CO2 in the process.

    Tillerson says that "everyone agrees that notwithstanding the growth in all other options for supplying energy, renewables, nuclear, biomass alternatives, you are still going to require substantial fossil fuels to meet energy needs, and two-thirds is going to come from oil and natural gas."

    He spoke of Exxon spending $8 billion of its profits on the Kearl oil sands project in Alberta, Canada. This project alone is aimed at recovering between 4.5 and 6.5 billion barrels of oil.

    Finding such oil takes money and expensive technology. That money comes from profits.

    Kearl is part of the Athabasca oil sands located in the northeastern corner of Alberta, near the city of Fort McMurray. The Alberta government's Energy and Utilities Board estimated in 2007 that about 173 billion barrels of crude were economically recoverable based on current technology and 2006 prices.

    But oil prices keep rising and technology keeps advancing. These oil sand deposits cover about 54,000 square miles and contain about 1.7 trillion barrels of crude.

    Oil is trapped in the shale in the Bakken Formation, straddling western North Dakota and Montana. The oil is trapped in a thin layer of dense rock nearly two miles beneath the surface.

    Leigh Price, a scientist with the U.S. geological survey, authored a study before his death in 2000 estimating that the entire formation, which extends into Saskatchewan and Manitoba, may hold up to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

    The technology to retrieve it is sophisticated. It is not sitting in large underground reservoirs.

    The oil is trapped in microscopic pores of rock and companies must force pressurized fluid and sand into the earth to break the pores in the rock and recover the oil. The extraction technology and production process also is not cheap.

    According to the Institute for Energy Research, "The United States has 2 trillion barrels of oil shale. This is more than 7 times the amount of crude oil reserves found in Saudi Arabia, and is enough to meet current U.S. demand for over 250 years."

    Out west we may have what could be called a "Persia on the Plains."

    A Rand Corporation study says the Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, has the largest known oil shale deposits in the world, holding from 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of crude.

    Of that, some 800 billion barrels are recoverable with current technology — roughly triple Saudi Arabia's current known reserves.

    Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation says: "If full-scale production begins within five years, the U.S. could completely end its dependence on OPEC by 2020." That's quite a forecast, given that nearly a half of our oil today comes from that monopoly.

    Indeed, there is enough North American petroleum trapped in oil sands and shale rock to form our own OPEC.

    While OPEC, the Saudis, and even the U.S. Congress are telling us to pound sand, at least one U.S. company wants to get energy from it.
  2. Shale has been just as much vaporware now as it was in the 1970s. It's just not going to happen. Oil companies drag their feet on that stuff, the requisite technological breakthroughs never show up (or are suppressed), the price of oil stabilizes to where shale interest dies down entirely. It's just like the hydrogen car or the air car. Just TALK. TALK TALK TALK.

    Until they can get over the issues of getting water to the shale site to perform the hydrocracking procedures, shale will never get off the ground.
  3. I'd like to hear more.

    I thought this was already being done. Wikipedia says, "As of 2008, oil shale extraction is being undertaken in Estonia, Brazil and China, while some other countries such as Australia, USA, Canada and Jordan have planned to start or restore shale oil production".

    The same article claims that "Royal Dutch Shell has announced that its in situ extraction technology in Colorado could be competitive at prices over $30 per barrel ($190/m3), while other technologies at full-scale production assert profitability at oil prices even lower than $20 per barrel ($130/m3)." In other words, it should be viable at current prices. Do you agree?

    Is there a chance the industry is dragging their feet simply because there are enought "regular" reserves available that shale is not worth the effort at this point?
  4. nevadan


    The short answer to the question is: Nope
  5. A major stumbling bloc is that it takes an unbelievably huge amount of water to undertake this process. It's really tough on the environment as well as expensive.

    This would be a last alternative if we "run out", (oil just gets too expensive). It would only be a transition source, along with using ever more coal, until nuke plants, more green tech, and crap loads of EV's start being used.
  6. Well IBD editorials.... the people writing this stuff are pathetic.
    There is plenty of oil left, start changing your habits and tax gasoline a little more before destroying what's left of the environment for more big oil profits.
  7. Its the tree huggers that are pathetic. They rather burn food then find Oil.

    Oil companies can drill without hurting the environment but the democrats keep the old myths alive about how drilling destroys the environment just as they do with Nuclear Energy being unsafe.
  8. how much would it cost to pump water from the ocean? Or salt water is not ok?
  9. the huge amounts of water add to the environmental component. Its expensive besides this.
  10. It's simple you want to keep your SUV, then pay up and shut up.
    Eventually oil will crash below $75 probably. I don't see why we should destroy the environment so you can keep consuming the same amount of gasoline. There is no oil problem there is a monetary problem and a speculation problem. Fix that first, then we'll see about the rest. As for nukes, they aren't 100% safe and when there is a problem, consequences are disastrous. It's the worst thing mankind has ever invented.
    But beyond that, at some point the whole growth logic will have to be revised somehow, soon or later.

    So the environmentalist are right, it's a matter of whether you want to try and act on your personal level or be forced later by regulations which nobody libertarian likes including me .
    #10     Jun 2, 2008