The Happy Arab News Service

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Ultimate Weapon - III

November 13, 2006

This post continues my previous post, where I discuss the Israeli technology of extracting oil from shale. The representatives of A.F.S.K claim that the cost of extracting of one barrel of oil from the low quality Israeli shale is about $17 and that the technology would remain competetive at $18 per barrel. Ofer Glazer, the husband of billionaire Shari Arison, is building the first plant of this kind in Negev. There are negotiations of building similar plants in Jordan, whose oil shale has a higher caloric value - 20% against 15% of the Israeli oil shale.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about world's oil shale reserves:

Therefore, worldwide there are approximately 620 billion barrels of known recoverable kerogen (To convert tonnes to barrels, multiply by 7. This is a reasonable approximation. NB. This compares with known worldwide petroleum reserves of 1200 billion barrels (Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2006).


Major oil shale deposits are located in Morocco (12.3 billion tonnes) and South Africa (73 million tonnes).


Major oil shale deposits are located in China (260 million tonnes), Thailand (18.7 billion tonnes) and Turkey (1.6 billion tonnes). China is currently producing about 60,000 tonnes of shale oil per year.


Australia is one of the few locations currently producing kerogen from oil shale. The Stuart demonstration project is designed to produce 4,500 barrels per day of shale oil products.


Major oil shale deposits are located in Albania (6 million tonnes), Estonia (1.5 billion tonnes) and Ukraine (2.7 billion tonnes). Estonia is currently producing shale oil.

Middle East

Major oil shale deposits are located in Israel (15.4 billion tonnes) and Jordan (40 billion tonnes). Jordanian oil shales are high quality - comparable to Western US oil shale - with the exception of high sulfur content.

North America

At 3.3 trillion tonnes, the oil shale deposits in the United States are easily the largest in the world. There are two major deposits: the Eastern US deposits, located in Devonian-Mississippian shales, cover 250,000 square miles (650,000 square kilometers). The Western US deposits, the Green River formation in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, are among the richest oil shale deposits in the world.

South America

Brazil is also producing small amounts of shale oil. Production in 1999 was about 200,000 tonnes.

Wikipedia reports also:

If the price of a barrel of oil is under forty US dollars, oil-shale oil is not competitive with conventional crude oil. If the price of oil were to remain over forty dollars a barrel (with no chance of declining, which could be the case if oil shale were to be exploited on a large enough scale), then companies would exploit oil shale

. . .

In 2005, Royal Dutch Shell announced that its in-situ extraction technology could be competitive at prices over $30/bbl . There are other companies that have other patented methods for in-situ retorting, but the Shell method has proven to produce in commercial quantities after a pilot project shown successful.


The following information comes from the EIS's site. The USA oil shale reserves:

While oil shale is found in many places worldwide, by far the largest deposits in the world are found in the United States in the Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Estimates of the oil resource in place within the Green River Formation range from 1.2 to 1.8 trillion barrels. Not all resources in place are recoverable; however, even a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. Present U.S. demand for petroleum products is about 20 million barrels per day. If oil shale could be used to meet a quarter of that demand, the estimated 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from the Green River Formation would last for more than 400 years.



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