Saturday, May 12, 2012

200 Year Supply of Oil in Green River Formation

The Green River Formation, the world's largest oil shale deposit, is located in a largely vacant region of mostly federal land on the western edge of the Rocky Mountains that includes portions of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado (see map above).

Here's an excerpt from testimony about the Green River Formation that was provided on Thursday by Anu K. Mittal, Government Accountability Office (GAO) Director of Natural Resources and Environment, to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology titled "Unconventional Oil and Gas Production: Opportunities and Challenges of Oil Shale Development":

"The Green River Formation—an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming—contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale. USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions. The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered. At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves."

MP: Surprisingly, this testimony got almost no press coverage, here's one exception from CNS News.  Shouldn't it be newsworthy that the U.S. has 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in  the Green River Formation, an amount even greater than this estimate of 1.392 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves in the entire world?  The GAO did issue a study in October 2010 that may have already identified the vast resources in the Green River area, so maybe this is old news and not worth reporting.    

But with current U.S. daily oil consumption running at about 19.5 million barrels, the staggering amount of Green River reserves would by itself supply domestic oil consumption for more than 200 years! The testimony also mentioned that industry experts estimate future development of Green River to be 15-20 years away, but it's not clear if that's due to federal regulatory issues or limitations of current drilling technology. 

Even if development is 15-20 years away, the vast untapped energy resources of Green River, the largest oil shale deposit in the world, provide additional support for the idea that "peak oil" is "peak idiocy" (Mike Munger explains here).    

35 Comments:

At 5/12/2012 10:44 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Silly capitalists. Did you really believe that the anti-American left would allow you to exploit Americas abundant energy reserves? President Obama and his environmental friends have seen you coming and have already taken action to ensure that the future belongs to their "green energy" cronies:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Institute for Energy Research (IER) president Thomas J. Pyle issued the following statement today after the Interior Department announced its plans to withdraw from consideration acreage in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming where research and development of a small portion of our nation’s homegrown oil shale reserves had previously been scheduled to take place:

“Earlier this week, Secretary Salazar suggested America’s massive and homegrown reserves of oil shale held ‘great potential.’ Unfortunately, the Interior Department’s decision today may help ensure that potential never becomes reality – in the process, locking-away an American energy resource larger than the total reserves of the entire Middle East.

“At a time of great economic uncertainty, with millions of Americans out of work and state budgets stretched beyond their breaking point, responsible development of America’s abundant shale resources could be a way out of our current condition, and a way back to a better one. The Interior Department’s announcement today effectively forecloses that opportunity.” -- Institute for Energy Research

 
At 5/12/2012 10:55 AM, Blogger juandos said...

'The Green River Formation—an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming—contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale. USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions'...

Well as che noted we can probably be thankful to liberals, progressives, commies, and other assorted forms of societal debris that fighting to use it might be more expensive than drilling for it...

 
At 5/12/2012 11:00 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

S.22 is a smorgasbord of 160 bills totaling more than 1,300 pages and, no, we're not sure how many who voted for it actually read it. A stimulus bill it is not, for it locks up an additional 2 million acres to the 107 million acres of federally owned wilderness areas. That total is more than the area of Montana and Wyoming combined. Speaking of Wyoming, 1.1 million of these newly restricted acres are in that state. This bill ... takes about 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 300 million barrels of oil out of production in that state, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The energy resources walled off by this bill would nearly match the annual production levels of our two natural gas production states — Texas and Alaska. Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled 77 Utah oil and gas leases that had gone through seven years of studies, negotiations and land-use planning. They were rejected because temporary drilling operations might be "visible" from several national parks more than a mile away.

Some of these parcels are in or near the Green River Formation, an oil-rich region in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming that's been called the "Persia of the West." This formation has the largest known oil shale deposits in the world, holding from 1.5 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of crude. The Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory indicates 800 billion of these barrels are recoverable with current technology. Technology for shale-oil extraction is certainly further along than getting energy from switch grass or producing cellulosic ethanol. If we're going to stimulate anything, let's stimulate shale-oil production. -- IBD

 
At 5/12/2012 11:10 AM, Blogger al fin said...

We need to be clear that oil shale is not oil. (do not confuse with "shale oil" which is crude oil trapped in shale rock) We have still not developed the best ways of converting solid rock oil shale kerogens to liquid hydrocarbons.

Peak oil is certainly peak idiocracy. But there is no reason to rush into development of oil shale kerogens before the technology and infrastructure is ready. We have plenty of oil & gas & coal, and clean ways of using them.

We should probably work on development of generation IV high temperature gas cooled nuclear reactors, because the high quality, high temperature heat from those reactors would facilitate the production of liquid fuels from oil shale kerogens.

Coincidentally, high quality heat from gas cooled reactors would also make it relatively cheap to convert gas, coal, biomass, and bitumens to high quality liquid fuels, chemicals, fertilisers, etc.

Things work better when we take the best path sequence.

 
At 5/12/2012 11:22 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"We need to be clear that oil shale is not oil. (do not confuse with "shale oil" which is crude oil trapped in shale rock) We have still not developed the best ways of converting solid rock oil shale kerogens to liquid hydrocarbons." -- al fin

Yes, we are all aware of this. The point is that when the government starts locking up resources and creating costly regulatory hurdles it destroys the incentive to invest in new technologies.

"We should probably work on development of generation IV high temperature gas cooled nuclear reactors, because the high quality, high temperature heat from those reactors would facilitate the production of liquid fuels from oil shale kerogens." -- al fin

Did you say "nuclear"? Man, where have you been? Do you really believe that the environmental left is going to allow you to build nuclear reactors to facilitate the production of hydrocarbons? What color is the sky in your world?

 
At 5/12/2012 12:44 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

This is, absolutely, the silliest post to ever go up on Carpe Diem.

When oil was $22.00/bbl Shell said they could make the kerogen/marlstone pay at $30.00.

When oil went to $45.00 Shell said, just a couple of years away.

Now, Oil is $110.00/bbl, and Shell (and Chevron) have gone almost totally silent.

At least 1/3 of the Green River Formation is on Private land. You want to play? No problemo. Photocopy yourself a standard lease, and head for Colorahdo, boyos. You'll be in business 'fore the sun goes down.

Peak oil isn't idiocy. Peak oil is a Fact. THIS is idiocy.

 
At 5/12/2012 12:55 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Peak oil isn't idiocy. Peak oil is a Fact. THIS is idiocy"...

Hmmm, made a bad bet on peak oil did you rufus?

Maybe some of the newer ideas in development might work out...

Think positive rufus, after all someone like Edison and to try a thousand different ways before he got a practical light bulb up and glowing...

 
At 5/12/2012 1:12 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

I am "thinking positively," J. I'm thinking that this is "positively nonsense."

 
At 5/12/2012 1:22 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

if 1/3 of the land is private.. what is the hold up?

If all the private land was already producing and they wanted additional govt land then yeah you could say the govt was "blocking" production.

but when the private land is not being developed and you blame the govt.. it lacks a certain OMMPH....

you know...???

this is not really about the govt and oil is it?

 
At 5/12/2012 1:22 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I am "thinking positively," J. I'm thinking that this is "positively nonsense"...

O.K. rufus, do you have something credible to back up your positively nonsense claim?

BTW I guess you're also not buying into the Red Leaf technology sales pitch, eh?

It 'looks doable' but practical and at scaled up quanitities, well I don't know...

 
At 5/12/2012 2:22 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Ok, question:

I must be misunderstanding something:

I thought the peak oil argument was we have found all the oil we can, so supplies will only go down from here. But that is not true, as world oil supplies keep growing day by day.

Now, I am hearing arguments that it is the production side of things, not supply. That we have reached peak production. But that is not true either; world oil production is currently at a record level.

So, what is peak oil?

 
At 5/12/2012 3:08 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Peak Oil refers to "flow rate."

And, the "flow rate" of all the world's fields is, for all practical purposes, the same as it was in 2005 (within +/- 1% of 74 Million bbl/day.)

 
At 5/12/2012 4:25 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon Murphy asks: "What is peak oil?"

My theory is peak oil is when billions of oil wells are drilled in the U.S. and the country literally collapses :)

 
At 5/12/2012 4:27 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

al fin says: "We need to be clear that oil shale is not oil...Peak oil is certainly peak idiocracy."

Let me know when you make up your mind.

 
At 5/12/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Anyway, with all that driling for shale oil, the U.S. is still 40% below its 1970 peak.

 
At 5/12/2012 4:46 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

"200 Year Supply of Oil in Green River Formation"

Within the next 10 years, there may be a better chance to extract a significant amount of gold in the Gulf of Mexico than a significant amount of oil in the Green River Formation.

"Peak gold is the date at which the maximum rate of global gold extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline...Unlike petroleum, which is destroyed in use, gold can be reused and recycled."

"In 2009, Barrick CEO Aaron Regent claimed that global production had peaked in 2000."

"In 2006, Roland Watson claimed that gold production had peaked in 2001 due to falling exploration in the 1990s, when gold prices were low. He predicted that higher prices and new technologies would boost gold production to higher levels in the future."

"In 2010, mined gold production was 2,689 tonnes. This surpasses the previous record of 2,649 tonnes produced in 2001."

 
At 5/12/2012 5:12 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I don't know why. but this pro-oil site says California has 65 percent of US oil shale reserves.

Already Oxy Petroleum says it is ramping up oil shale production.

Oxy says it costs $3 million to drill a well that earns $12 million in oil in Year One. I guess that is good enough for Vange.

"THE FIRST CONGRESS 100% DEDICATED TO CALIFORNIA OIL
With estimates of the total oil in place in California ranging from 300 billion barrels to over 500 billion barrels, one thing is certain; California has the potential to become the largest oil producing State in the America. The EIA believes the Monterey to contain 64% of all recoverable shale oil in the continental US, eclipsing the Eagle Ford and the Bakken. Despite producing significant volumes of oil for over 90 years, new technologies and techniques are now being pioneered and implemented to significantly increase production in California."

http://www.tight-oil-monterey-california-2012.com/

Seems like the USA will have oil and gas coming out of its ears.

So why are we subsidizing corn famers and mandating use of ethanol?

 
At 5/12/2012 6:35 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Setting the Record Straight on U.S. Oil Reserves
Mar 26, 2012

"Oil production has been increasing in the U.S., primarily driven by expanding production from the Bakken Shale Formation in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. The oil that is being produced from these shale formations is sometimes improperly referred to as shale oil.

Even though the oil in the Bakken and Eagle Ford is being extracted from shale formations, the term shale oil is reserved for something entirely different. The oil in these shale formations actually exists as oil, but the shale does not allow the oil to flow very well. This oil is properly called “tight oil”, and advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology have allowed this oil to be produced.

But the Green River formation is the source of talk of those huge oil resources — larger than those of Saudi Arabia — and it is a very different prospect than the tight oil being produced in North Dakota and Texas.

The oil shale in the Green River looks like rock. Unlike the hydrocarbons in the tight oil formations, the oil shale (kerogen) consists of very heavy hydrocarbons that are solid. In that way, oil shale more resembles coal than oil.

Oil shale is essentially oil that Mother Nature did not finish cooking, and thus to convert it into oil, heat has to be added. The energy requirements — plus the fact that oil shale production requires a lot of water in a very dry environment — have kept oil shale commercialization out of reach."

 
At 5/12/2012 8:32 PM, Blogger Itchy said...

does this mean he was just blowing smoke up our ass?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z_VcSH67s4&feature=relmfu

too bad we can't power our cars with politicans' B.S.

 
At 5/12/2012 8:46 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Already Oxy Petroleum says it is ramping up oil shale production. So why are we subsidizing corn famers and mandating use of ethanol?" -- "Benji"

"Benji",

You might want to do a little research before you juxtapose the activities of a company like Occidental Petroleum against any form of government subsidy.

 
At 5/12/2012 10:01 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Che-

Oxy Petroleum perhaps gets subsidies. I am against that. I am unaware of any subsidies they receive.

I am against corn farmers getting subsidies, and then a mandated market----ethanol---for their product.

Corn farmers and the corn-ethanol market is pink-o socialism in spades. It makes Red China looks like a free market nirvana.

Corn farmers must wear rouge when they mount their tractors.

Who supports pink-o socialism in spades?

Not me!

 
At 5/13/2012 7:07 AM, Blogger rjs said...

hasnt that oil been there all along? or was it just created so obama could block its exploitation?

 
At 5/13/2012 7:23 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

When I see the shale rock widely and profitably exploited on the private lands, I'll take more serious note of the claims of the govt "blocking" the development on public lands.

As PeakTrader pointed out - this is not "tight" oil - this is really coal-like rock that has to be mined and then "cooked" then the inert material disposed of OR they can enormous amounts of energy to cook it in place and transport the cooked oil to the surface.

When you dump tailings on the surface, you are likely impacting other property owners by the leeching of toxic metals from the mounds of tailings into surface and ground water aquifers.

Other landowners who do not like their land ruined by your activities are likely to sue you and/or demand that the govt restrict you from polluting lands and waters that do not belong to you.

The GAO report addressed BOTH the opportunities AND the challenges and they pointed out that just because the resource is technically recoverable does not mean it is economically recoverable.

When we actually see private lands being profitably exploited with safeguards for damage to water, - we can start blaming the govt for restricting the public lands.

Until then it sounds more like yet another political message.

 
At 5/13/2012 10:50 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Ignorance alert. Kerogen is not oil. And upgrading shale has never been economic. Since there is no objective evidence that anyone can make a profit extracting shale oil from the Green River Formation you have to look at why the claims are being made. And if you do you quickly realize that there is a big political angle that has nothing to do with economic reality.

 
At 5/13/2012 1:34 PM, Blogger Virginia Llorca said...

You need a twitter link on your blog. Your link is too long to copy.

 
At 5/13/2012 11:33 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Mark,

I hope this works out. That would be very nice ;-)

 
At 5/14/2012 2:46 PM, Blogger BigMike said...

This is the mark of the Insane Capitalist.
IF your planning to double the energy needed to extract this GARBAGE fuel, you should simply use that same energy to fuel a fleet of electric vehicles, with NON of the Pollution by-product.

The world is already experiencing a MULTI-YEAR Drought, caused by increasing temperates. Global Increasing Temperatures, and we're only half way there to the predicted increase in temperature.

Ask, how many southwestern farms and ranches do you plan to destroy.

Since when did the "right" totally embrace FU Capitalism? Since when did DESTROY AMERICA become your motto? Since, Limbaugh, funded by the Insane Billionaire Class.

 
At 5/14/2012 2:50 PM, Blogger BigMike said...

Instead of this, you should be demanding the Oil Industry invest 50% of yearly profits into solar and wind farms. And transition their drilling teams into wind installers, and maintenance staff.

- No Importation of oil.
- No pollution, slowdown in green house gasses.
- Transition NOW to hybrid and EV's.
- Make AMERICA economically stronger as the money stays in AMERICA.
- Protects SOUTHERN, Texas and Southwestern Farms.
- Keeps food and cattle prices low.
- Shutting down coal could mean a drop in autism rates, and the ability to fish and eat clean fish.

 
At 5/14/2012 2:53 PM, Blogger BigMike said...

Oil has been on "government" subsidies for 100 years. When are they going to grow up and be a mature industry that doesn't need to keep taking government - Our MONEY.

We should be funding solar for 100 years, the same Dollar Amount we gave OIL. Why? To Take the Industry away from China!

For AMERICAN JOBS.

 
At 5/14/2012 3:29 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

This is the mark of the Insane Capitalist.
IF your planning to double the energy needed to extract this GARBAGE fuel, you should simply use that same energy to fuel a fleet of electric vehicles, with NON of the Pollution by-product.


No sane person would risk his own capital on either shale oil or electric vehicles. For either you need massive subsidies and mandates that can only be provided by governments.

The world is already experiencing a MULTI-YEAR Drought, caused by increasing temperates. Global Increasing Temperatures, and we're only half way there to the predicted increase in temperature.

There is no more drought today than there was a century and a half ago. Most of the world is doing fine and agricultural production is at an all time high. The last time I looked that was a good thing.

Ask, how many southwestern farms and ranches do you plan to destroy.

I do not plan to destroy anything. And neither does anyone who is going to invest his/her own capital. As long as the government gets out of the way and stops subsidizing stupid programs nobody will try to upgrade kerogen into oil because the return on the energy invested in negative and the processes do not scale up very well.

Since when did the "right" totally embrace FU Capitalism? Since when did DESTROY AMERICA become your motto? Since, Limbaugh, funded by the Insane Billionaire Class.

The American Right is just like the American Left. It looks to reward its supporters and to screw consumers as it prevents competition in the free market. The Left loves big government programs in the green energy sector while the Right love big government programs in oil and gas.

 
At 5/14/2012 3:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Instead of this, you should be demanding the Oil Industry invest 50% of yearly profits into solar and wind farms. And transition their drilling teams into wind installers, and maintenance staff.

You have no right to demand anything other than to be left alone. If you like wind please invest in it yourself and compete by selling electricity without any subsidies or mandates.

- No Importation of oil.

How do you figure that? Wind energy is quite useless and does not serve any purpose other than to allow special interests to get rich.

- No pollution, slowdown in green house gasses.

Not true. Wind power requires fossil fuel generators as backup. Those backups are always turning because of the variability problem. When you look at the total energy produced more CO2 is produced when wind is part of the mix.

And since turbines kill bats farmers have to use more pesticides. (I thought that you greens did not like those.) Let us not mention the killing of birds or the toxic waste produced by the mining of rare earth elements that go into the production of magnets used in wind turbines.

- Transition NOW to hybrid and EV's.

Nothing is stopping you from buying whatever vehicle you want.

- Make AMERICA economically stronger as the money stays in AMERICA.

MAKE how? By having government tell industry what to do? Sounds a lot like National Socialism to me.

- Protects SOUTHERN, Texas and Southwestern Farms.

Why? Can't farmers protect themselves? And protect them from what?

- Keeps food and cattle prices low.

You can only do that by encouraging industry and more production, not by playing central planner.

- Shutting down coal could mean a drop in autism rates, and the ability to fish and eat clean fish.

Why not argue that it could bring back unicorns and the dodo bird instead? After all, if you are going to play retard go all out.

 
At 5/14/2012 3:41 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Oil has been on "government" subsidies for 100 years. When are they going to grow up and be a mature industry that doesn't need to keep taking government - Our MONEY.

We should be funding solar for 100 years, the same Dollar Amount we gave OIL. Why? To Take the Industry away from China!

For AMERICAN JOBS.


Sieg Heil!!!!

Whenever I need a good laugh this site provides it. I thought that Larry and Walt had issues but you have surpassed them. I suggest that you get out of mom's basement and hit the books. The energy industry has been a cash cow for governments as it has provided the opportunity for politicians to rape investors, and workers in the sector and consumers in general. On the other hand, the net contribution by solar is negative.

 
At 5/14/2012 4:38 PM, Blogger hobby16 said...

"What is peak oil"

Whatever ad hoc talking point of the day, after its promoters have moved the goalpost to find yet another doomer red herring.

 
At 5/14/2012 8:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Oil has been on "government" subsidies for 100 years. When are they going to grow up and be a mature industry that doesn't need to keep taking government - Our MONEY.

We should be funding solar for 100 years, the same Dollar Amount we gave OIL. Why? To Take the Industry away from China!
"...

bigmike what are you babbling on about here lad?

What is an oil subsidy?

Does it not bother you a bit that the government makes more off of a gallon of gasoline in excise taxes than an oil company makes in profit on that same gallon of gasoline?

So I ask you, what subsidy?

 
At 5/15/2012 10:51 AM, Blogger Its GSATT said...

Hey big mike, the only way your getting me in a prius is with a gun to my head. I believe even Marx himself acknowledged that that socialism must be forced upon those who won't drink the kool aid. This is where the mass murders of communist regimes enter.

Go ride your fixie to you local coffee shop and wake up. You might like France better than the States. MOVE

 

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