Oil Shale Resources and Fact Sheets

The US Department of Energy (DOE) states on its fossil energy website that “an objective look at [alternatives to petroleum] points to the Nation’s untapped oil shale as a strategically located, long-term source of reliable, affordable, and secure oil.” A task force to develop a program and make recommendations to advance the commercialization of the United States’ strategic unconventional fuel resources, including oil shale was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  The Strategic Unconventional Fuels Task Force website contains links to educational posters and fact sheets  titled Oil Shale Resources, Oil Shale Economics, Oil Shale and the Environment and Oil Shale Water Resources prepared by the Department of Energy’s Office of Petroleum Reserves.

According to the USGS, the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming contains the largest oil shale deposits in the world and the DOE estimates that U.S. oil shale resources amount to more than 2 trillion barrels.  This energy source is at the bottom of the Resource Triangle because historically it has been cost prohibitive to develop this resource and the associated technology given the lower cost of petroleum.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Oil Shale and Tar Sands resources on lands administered by the BLM in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Their online center for public information contains an About Oil Shale page with general information as well as photos.

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