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By Juan Aguilar on Apr 29, 2010 with 2 responses

Worlds Largest Beds of Oil Shales Remain Protected

The Green River Formation in the Rockies reportedly holds the largest bed of shale oil in the world.

Oil locked in shales situated on Federal lands in the Rocky Mountains are not likely to be tapped any time soon.

“I don’t know when we’ll see commercial development on public lands,” Steve Black, counsel for Interior Secretary announced at the Unconventional Fuels Conference.  “It’s an industry that is not ready for prime time.”

A 2005 study by the Rand Corporation estimated that sedimentary rock in the corner where Utah borders Colorado and Wyoming called the Green River Formation contains an untapped 800 billion barrels. That’s three times the size of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves.

World-renowned geologist Walter Youngquist called the oil beneath the Green River Formation, “a national treasure.”

Nevertheless, in February 2009, Salazar scrapped land leases designed to enable oil developers to tap oil from 1.9 million acres of the range, saying “I am withdrawing that Jan. 14 solicitation because in my view it was a midnight decision, and it was flawed.”

Fuel developers allege that the Obama administration has blocked progress of drilling in the potentially kerogen-rich shale.  They believe that the White House is reluctant to endorse drilling for oil generally, and that the Green River Formation shales in particular have been blacklisted.

Yesterday, Black denied that Salazar and President Obama are red-lighting all oil projects.  “This administration supports responsible development of all energy resources in the right place and at the right time,” said Black.

“He has never said privately or publicly that his intention is to kill oil shale,” Black added. “We’re not trying to pick winners or losers.”

  1. By CEA on May 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

    An increase in oil shale production would cause an increase in employment within the regions where shale oil production occurs, or within regions that contain industries providing inputs to the production process. A few hundred thousand jobs would likely be associated, directly and indirectly, with oil shale production. The net effect on nationwide employment is uncertain, however, because increases in employment arising from oil shale production could be partially offset by reductions in employment in other parts of the country. Of course much of this depends on price of conventional oil. But the point is the potential is there.
    Want to learn more about balanced energy for America? Visit to get involved, discover CEA’s mission and sign up for our informative newsletter.

  2. By lakotahope on May 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

    800bbl of oil? Awesome, but the techniques to recover oil from this shale need to be examined as it would really destroy much of this land and leave it looking like the moon. If the companies that get their hands on this acreage would rehabilitate the land after they destroy the top layers, then I would be more than willing to consider such a proposal as shale oil recovery.

    We need to do something such as developing hydrogen technology as a major supplier of our countries fuel use. 30% to 55% of our total usage should be alternative fuels, which will double in cost, but eventually, it would enable the U.S. to have unlimited fuel that is already in production for the time that will certainly come, when oil is finished as a power source for the world.

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