Oil Shale - Oil Shale Facts - What is Oil Shale?

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What is Oil Shale?

Oil Shale is mixture of organic compounds trapped in rock deep below the earths surface.  Oil shale contains Bitumen and a significant amount of Kerogen.  With the use of new technology, liquid hydrocarbons can be extracted.  Oil shale involves mining rather then regular oil which is pumped out of the ground.  Once this Oil shale is mined, it is then sent off for further processing.

Oil shale can be used as a low grade power source for electricity or a heating fuel.  Some countries in the world have been known to use oil shale to run power plants.  Estonia is one of these countries.

Processing Oil Shale:  Oil shale is processed in two ways, ex situ processing or in situ processing.

Ex Situ processing involves processing oil shale above ground.  This shale is crushed and mined at a higher cost which is expensive.

In Situ process involves heating the oil shale below the earths surface at high temperatures and then extracting it from the ground.  Using in situ extraction, more oil shale can reaches vs ex situ extraction.  Shell Oil Company is testing an in situ plant in Colorado on federal land.  Their test is called the freeze wall.

The United States sits on the world's largest oil shale deposit in the Green River Formation.  Alaska also has a huge oil shale deposit in the ArcticWildlife Refugee or ANWAR

Oil Shale Drilling - Pro and Cons:  While drilling oil shale would help the United States dependence on foreign oil, production uses a tremendous amount of water and energy to heat up the oil shale for production.  Estimates put the energy consumption rate to produce oil shale at 40% of recovery.

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Shell Freeze Wall
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Oil Shale - Heating
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