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Comments about ‘My view: Oil shale plan helps protect Utah’

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Published: Friday, April 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

What a misleading picture. One does not drill for oil shale or tar sands, you strip mine for those things, how do you put the top of a mountain back?

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Happy Valley..... not sure what you are talking about. Oil Shale is absolutely drilled for... and the actual footprint of the work is very small. Once the wells are sunk, the pumps are nearly invisible. I have just spent part of this week in meetings studying the work done on the plateaus in Colorado by Marathon Oil. The biggest impact to the region are the roads that need to be built to support the rigs while drilling is going on.

Happy, you are suffering from a bad case of misinformation.

Now Tar Sands is another story completely... and yes... the impact on the surface in this style of extraction is far greater.... and I have deep questions if this is a path Utah wants to head down.

What is described in this opinion piece, if represented correctly, this sounds like a balanced and pragmatic approach... which should be a boost for Utah.

KDave
Moab, UT

One more point. The majority of "tourism jobs" are low paying seasonal work. Most that are employed in this field are just doing so until they can find a real job. While, the extraction industries do pay a decent wage that a person can raise a family on. A balanced approach is the way to go.

Noodlekaboodle
Poplar Grove, UT

@KDave
Have you ever worked in the extraction industry? When I graduated from HS I worked on an oil rig, your right that the pay is good....when you are working, but for 3 years in a row I was laid off in November, given instructions on how to file for unemployment, and given a wink and a handshake deal that I would be rehired in February. Drilling slows way down in the winter, and with the travel, most of the time you aren't working on the same rig for years, i worked anywhere from Alaska, to Texas, to Utah, to Mexico, and long hours(12 hrs a day for 2 weeks straight, then 2 weeks off), it's not as good of a job as you think. Plus, it's really dangerous, at least working on a traditional rig is, again, not sure that is a great job for a family man.

Reasonable Engineer
Saratoga Springs, UT

@UtahBlueDevil
I'm afraid you are actually the one that is misinformed. Oil Shale contains a solid organic substance called Kerogen that can be converted to liquid hydrocarbons, but is not pumpable from the ground. The set-ups you are describing (which indeed to have a small footprint) are used for natural gas and crude oils.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Looks like both drilling and mining may be used, depending on factors.

Shale oil extraction is an industrial process for unconventional oil production. This process converts kerogen in oil shale into shale oil by pyrolysis, hydrogenation, or thermal dissolution. The resultant shale oil is used as fuel oil or upgraded to meet refinery feedstock specifications by adding hydrogen and removing sulfur and nitrogen impurities.

Shale oil extraction is usually performed above ground (ex situ processing) by mining the oil shale and then treating it in processing facilities. Other modern technologies perform the processing underground (on-site or in situ processing) by applying heat and extracting the oil via oil wells.

(from Wikipedia)

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Old Man is correc that there are new technologies out there that allow for in ground heating of the shale... but unfortunately for me, that wasn't what I was referring to. Yes, I read it as Shale Gas.... which is entirely different. That is what I get for reading things too early in the morning.

There are lots of advances being made.... and all options should be explored. But open pit mining should be one of the last options.

Papaman6
Los Angeles, CA

OK let's just break it down to simple facts:

Tar sand or oil sand is found at or close enough to the surface to be scraped or what is known as open pit mining. This is very dirty and very smelly but much less expensive than fracking.

Oil shale is usually found much deeper and is drilled by going to a vertical depth of as much as 2 to 5,000 feet or more and then drilled horizontally up to 10,000 feet. Current fracking methods are safe and very clean.

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