Open the federal land in the West to shale oil development

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  • ShaleDoctor Littleton, CO
    Nov. 21, 2012 10:06 p.m.

    The commenters on this article perpetuate numerous myths regarding oil shale. For more than 100 years, oil shale has been an organic rich rock that yields hydrocarbon liquids (shale oil) when heated under appropriate conditions. The new "shale oil" should be labeled "shale-hosted oil" to acknowledge priority of the term. Numerous processes currently are capable of economic production, and Estonia currently meets EU environmental regulations. Energy return is positive (2.5:1 to 11:1, depending on process). Water use is less than for biofuel, and could produce 10% of U. S. fuel needs for 2% of the allocation for the Colorado River. Most oil shale processes do not require hydraulic fracturing. Much of the information opponents claim is not available has been presented , but ignored by these opponents and the current administration. Oil shale will face significant challenges to become a significant resource, and will take at least a decade to reach significant production. However, it deserves the opportunity to demonstrate that it can be produced in an economically and environmentally sound manner, rather than prejudged on the basis of outdated information peddled by politicians and other activists.

  • deserthound Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 2:51 p.m.

    The DNews Editorial Board just lost their credibility with me. First, oil shale is different than shale oil. Shale oil is actual crude oil that is trapped deep in shale formations. The horrendous, environmentally-destructive process called hydraulic fracturing that is now the widespread method of obtaining shale gas is what is used for shale oil. Pumping millions of gallons of water, benzene, and diesel fuel deep underground to force the hydrocarbons out. Anyone who thinks this is responsible way to fuel your SUV so you can drive to 7-11 for your mega-monster diet coke is sadly misinformed. As is the editorial board.

    Oil shale is still not oil. It's a rock. And a very young rock at that, which contains Kerogen, not oil. Kerogen is a wax, a precursor to oil, gas or coal. Trying to obtain oil from this rock is tantamount to attempting to speed up the geological process by about 5 million years. It's not financially viable or technically easy.

    This ridiculous process is being proposed in the watershed that provides drinking water to about 30 million people in the West.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 5:35 p.m.

    One fallacy that often comes out in these posts is that, if we just produce a little more, the price at the pump will come down. OIl trades at the world price, and we don't have enough to effectively modify that price in any meaningful way. In fact, high prices help drive domestic exploration.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 15, 2012 4:57 p.m.

    "according to the International Energy Agency, shale oil resources will allow the United States to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil exporter before the decade is out."

    This is really funny. What the report says is even without any shale oil, the US is on a path to surpass Saudi Arabia.... but nice try to twist this. Lets repeat that. With existing projects under way right now..... not adding shale.... we will surpass the Saudis. This will be accomplished mostly via fracking. The down side is fracking reserves draw down much faster than traditional reserves do.

    The IEA credits Bush for kicking off programs, and credits Obama with expanding those programs. But reporting the news as it actually was reported, just not good enough for the desired political drama needed.

    I understand Utah wants to develop its own resources to develop jobs here and now, but in the long run, sitting on these reserves and leveraging the later will actually be financial better for Utah when oil prices increase again when these other new methods have run their course.

    You can sell when market prices are cheap, or sell when market values are higher.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 2:46 p.m.

    No, VST, the reason the pipeline was proposed to end at the Gulf coast is because the oil would be loaded onto tankers to haul it to other countries.

    That oil was not actually going to reduce prices in the United States.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 1:00 p.m.

    To "LDS Tree-Hugger" at least 50%, according to the CBO (governmetn) is recoverable in the Utah-Colorado oil shale deposit. That means that there is 800 billion barrels of oil shale sitting uder our feet. That is with using current technology that the EPA (government) has determined is safe.

    So, since it is safe and economically viable, why oppose it?

    Lets use a bleeding heart reason for allowing the drilling and extraction of oil from Utah. The leases for the land, combined with the royalties paid to the state and schools will allow for more money to spent on education, without raising taxes.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    Re: "During his campaign, the president promised an "all of the above" approach to domestic energy production."

    Unfortunately, though the President DID promise as much, that doesn't mean he actually intends to implement such an approach.

    He has consistently applied and signaled a continuation of his favored energy approach -- pandering, punitive over-regulation, resulting in less available and WAY more costly energy, coupled with crony-capitalist forays into expensive, loony, not-ready-for-prime-time "green" ventures.

    That'll certainly be his way of keeping his "promise."

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Nov. 15, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    Fact or Fake has a good point, there is an enormous amount of mis-information floating around about energy production. I wish that writers, and editorial boards would spend a little time researching energy sources before writing articles on the subject.

    Oil shale, shale oil, and tar sands are all "unconventional" energy, and are much costlier to produce than large deposits of more fluid "conventional" oil. Rather than relying on petroleum industry press releases, or Koch Brother funded "think tanks", it is wise to review web site catering to energy professionals like "The Oil Drum" or "Energy Bulletin".

  • Fact or Fake Vernal, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    This is one of those topics that seems to have very little of the truth. I live in Eastern Utah and I don't know what the entire truth is. However, I do know that the area sometimes is called desolate but in reality the area has abundant wildlife and some beautiful rock formations. It is quite dry. Liberals are always quick to state that it uses copious amounts of water. That is ten year old propaganda. There are currently methods that use very little and sometimes no water. the people trying to do the extraction and development are not asking for government money. There are investors lined up and fighting to get to that shale. I don't think any of them want any government help. That just brings more headaches.
    I think Ultra Bob has the most reasonable response. I really don't want to see oil shale development out here. I am a little tired of the ill informed posts out there. I would like the truth on both sides of the issue.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Nov. 15, 2012 10:25 a.m.

    Shale oil is one thing. Oil shale is another. If you drill into a 'tight' formation, i.e into shale, and you fracture it, (frack) it, the oil will be able to flow to the bore hole. That is shale oil.

    Oil shale is shale, but the organic in it is not liquid. It is kind of rubbery stuff called kerogen. You can heat the stuff and break it down into oil and then it will run. But to get oil from oil shale, you have to heat up the rock somehow. A lot of things have been done. There was a retort at the top of Daniels Canyon a 100 years ago run by a Chinaman who made candles for miners in Park City.

    People have burned down houses by making the fireplace from oil shale.

    Shale oil is probably a pretty good idea, if you are OK with fracking (I am). I think that oil shale is a whole different story. You would do a lot of hard rock mining, rubblize rocks, retort them, etc. It is a big headache. In fact, having shale oil around makes oil shale unprofitable.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    If Canadian oil is destined for the United States, why do they have to pipe it all the way across the United States to the gulf ports in Texas? My guess is that the Canadian oil is destined for the world market and the least cost way to get it on ships is across the flat lands of America.

    Developing American oil sources will not have any effect on the price of world oil. World oil prices are controlled by the oil monopoly that is mainly controlled by American oil interests. We should hold back and not develop or use our own resources as long as we can get foreign oil just as cheap.

    The clamor to develop American oil is a sham to get ownership of the American oil resources into the hands of the rich and powerful oil monopoly people. The ownership of the oil resources will give them an even tighter grip on the oil monopoly. Controlling oil pretty well means the ability to control everything for the time being.

  • LDS Tree-Hugger Farmington, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    The President is right --

    And once there is an economically feisible and safe method to extract and refine oil shale - we'll do it.

    Until them, keep it where it where God put it - safely under ground.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 8:58 a.m.

    Red, that is NOT shale oil in North Dakota. You need to spend some time on homework and learn more about a subject before spouting off.

    If oil shale can be developed in a responsible, safe manner without consuming enormous quantities of scarce water, and destroying large tracts of land, then go for it.

    But until then, it should be held off limits except for some carefully controlled and monitored test operations to find that kind of operation. That's called Research and Development.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    The oil is flowing in North Dakota. It works fine and has created tons of high paying jobs.

    We needed President Romney to open things up.

    It is clear their is NO CONFIDENCE in Obama besides the people who have their hands out.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 8:24 a.m.

    Does the Dnews have to publish these lobbyist pieces every few week alternating with the nukes are good articles.
    The above posters are correct. And how do you drill for Oil Shale? Oh yeah you make an impressive tear not unlike that cool looking inverted mountain on the west side.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 7:49 a.m.

    The shale in eastern Utah is not viable at this time. The yield is only 10%, or less. That means for every 10 gallons of fuel created, it requires 9 gallons of energy to produce. I don't know of any company who can make a profit on that low of a yield. Unless the government is going to subsidize it, which as we know is probably going to occur.
    Sounds like socialism, but when it's a corporation on the receiving end it's fine with republicans.
    The environmental costs far out weigh any possible advantage. It takes a tremendous amount of water and leaves a horrible mess behind.
    Now is NOT the time to refine oil shale in Utah.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Nov. 15, 2012 6:55 a.m.

    I've haven't heard of any economically feasible oil shale developments in the United States. It's used in Estonia, and is very dirty, even worse than coal. Are you sure you aren't confusing oil shale/kerogen with tight oil, also known as shale oil?