Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

A Real Energy Strategy for America: Shale Oil (One Answer to the Energy Crisis)
New Media Journal ^ | May 31, 2008 | Jonathon Moseley

Posted on 06/09/2008 4:48:39 PM PDT by Moseley

If shallow talk could solve America’s energy crisis, politicians in Washington would have all the answers. But Americans are still carrying a crushing burden while little changes. Fortunately, there are many real solutions available for the U.S. economy even if the politicians don’t seem to know it.

America’s dependence on foreign oil is more than a threat to our economy. It has become a threat to America’s national security. American money is being funneled to America’s enemies around the world and is strengthening our enemies while weakening America.

The Mid-West hides the largest untapped oil reserve in the world — estimated at 1 to 2 TRILLION barrels of oil trapped inside shale (rock). This could be more than 8 times Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves of 261 billion barrels. In fact, an article in The Denver Post estimated this to be more than all the other oil reserves on the planet earth.

If only we could discover how to extract this oil from its shale prison economically and with environmental safety, America might have the largest single source of oil in the world. So, why isn’t the U.S. running on home-grown U.S. oil? There are four reasons – all false.

Official Washington decided a long time ago that extracting oil from shale is too expensive. However, oil was trading for as little $19 per barrel at the time. Shale oil becomes competitive when prices stay consistently above $40 per barrel. In recent years, oil has risen from $19 per barrel to over $130 per barrel. It is now high time to unleash this vast resource.

The technology to extract usable oil from shale deposits has been proven. Shale oil currently supplies about 90% of the electricity and 76% of the total energy for Estonia, in Eastern Europe, on the Baltic Sea. An oil shale demonstration plant in Queensland, Australia produced 700,000 barrels of oil between 2001 and 2003.

Early reports dating to the Carter Administration incorrectly claimed that the ‘retorting’ process would require large amounts of energy and water. Repetition of this false information in government studies has discouraged the immediate use of shale oil.

The Unocal commercial demonstration plant project in the Colorado Piceance Creek Basin actually produced more water than it consumed, as former Paraho Corporation head Larry Lukens found from talking with Unocal’s engineers. Colorado oil shale contains, on average, 2-5% by weight of water. That water is liberated from the rock during the ‘retorting’ process. Unocal actually had to construct evaporation ponds to get rid of all the excess water generated.

Similarly, the waste rock, still containing some oil residue, becomes a fuel in its own right. So the process actually produces its own energy. Larry Lukens estimates that a 100,000 barrel a day plant would actually produce enough surplus energy to generate 500 megawatts of electrical power which can be exported to other uses or nearby cities. Once jump-started, the shale oil extraction process actually feeds itself. After all, it is oil we are extracting…

The fourth obstacle is the popcorn myth. Environmental opponents claim that disposing of the left-over gravel will be a problem. However, rock does not expand. Instead, when rock is ground into smaller sizes, air pockets are introduced. The solution is to compact the gravel debris back into place with heavy machinery. The gravel is also good for building roads.

It is time to take the lessons from these demonstration projects and build much-more efficient retorting plants to harness America’s vast shale oil reserves now that oil is trading at $120 per barrel and up. This should be given a crash-program status as the highest priority, like landing a man on the moon and the Manhattan Project. The only real problem is the lack of political will to truly achieve energy independence.

Progress on shale oil could be stimulated by (a) private business, (b) a consortium of State governments for States containing shale oil deposits, (c) Congress, or (d) the President through leadership of the bully pulpit and through action in the Executive Federal Departments. Any Presidential or Congressional candidate could also call attention to this opportunity by issuing a John F. Kennedy style challenge to the nation.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 110th; energy; gasoline; oil; opec

1 posted on 06/09/2008 4:50:05 PM PDT by Moseley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Moseley
They make mini nukes now, similar to the power plants on submarines that could power a mid-sized town, or stacked together, a large city or sparsely populated state. We then switch to electric cars, trains, buses and etc...
2 posted on 06/09/2008 4:53:02 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only the Marxist Obama can!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

It’s all good to me. With electric, the power has to come from somewhere, though. As far as nukes go, I have had rumors of plans for nuclear-powered cars. Checking into that.

In terms of generating electricity for the long-term, do a search for “Solar Power Satellites.” I will be doing an article on that in the future. We can beam power from the sun from space and power mankind forever.


3 posted on 06/09/2008 4:57:32 PM PDT by Moseley (http://www.TheBidenQuiz.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

let us all ask President Bush to just sign an executive order to open the land that Bill Clinton lock up with and executive order so he could get lots of money from Riady for his reelection in ‘96


4 posted on 06/09/2008 4:59:11 PM PDT by primatreat ("Flight animals are generally a nice source of food".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

let us all ask President Bush to just sign an executive order to open the land that Bill Clinton lock up with and executive order so he could get lots of money from Riady for his reelection in ‘96


5 posted on 06/09/2008 4:59:12 PM PDT by primatreat ("Flight animals are generally a nice source of food".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

That’s never been the problem.
this is the problem...
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/06/020696.php


6 posted on 06/09/2008 5:04:47 PM PDT by philo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

My dad managed a plant materials center in Meeker CO in the mid 70’s. It was basically a seed farm. They grew native plants for their seed, to be used in replanting areas that had been strip-mined for coal and oil shale.


7 posted on 06/09/2008 5:15:24 PM PDT by bigheadfred (FREE EVAN VELA, freeevanvela.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

Just damn.

Eastonia (who the hell is that?) can extract shale oil, but the US can’t.


8 posted on 06/09/2008 5:19:52 PM PDT by HangThemHigh (Entropy's not what it used to be.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: HangThemHigh

Yes, we are the only country on earth that denies itself its own natural resources.


10 posted on 06/09/2008 5:42:37 PM PDT by G.Love (Romney '12)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

Keep in mind that it is not just oil that we are buying from unfriendly nations.

If other nations are self sufficient for oil, why is it that we can’t be? It is obvious that “engaging” these other countries to get resources is causing a disaster.

It has been proved that globalism is not producing the desired results in many areas of our economy. Instead of buying peace, we are setting ourselves up for future and continuing conflicts.

We have to become self sufficient again, or we will be plunged in to another worldwide conflict. Obama wants surrender now, and McCain is too timid to do the right thing.


11 posted on 06/09/2008 5:42:48 PM PDT by LongTimeMILurker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

Shale oil production in Colorado is prohibited by congress. Next.


12 posted on 06/09/2008 5:49:06 PM PDT by saganite
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

Fine - and let me hire a tanker to bring in Brazil fuel for our cars without the import duty.

Why dont we charge import duties on the terrorist fuel from Russian and Iran and Venezuela?


13 posted on 06/09/2008 5:49:41 PM PDT by spanalot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saganite
Shale oil production in Colorado is prohibited by congress. Next.

Exactly. That's why McCain can turn this into a highly effective campaign issue.

Sometime soon he should introduce a bill to allow exploitation of the shale. Then he can rail against the democrats and Obama for opposing it on the campaign trail.

It would also help him secure Colorado's electoral votes, and possibly South Dakota's too.

It's perfect.

14 posted on 06/09/2008 6:08:56 PM PDT by curiosity
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: curiosity

Sometime soon he should introduce a bill to allow exploitation of the shale. Then he can rail against the democrats and Obama for opposing it on the campaign trail.

Oh please! McCain is dedicated to carbon trading schemes and signs on to the GW nonsense. What makes you think he’ll act like a conservative in the general election when he’s trying to court independents and Democrats who don’t like Obama. Get real.


15 posted on 06/09/2008 6:14:05 PM PDT by saganite
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

I’d guess that 90% of Americans know nothing about this. And I’ll bet my next week’s ration of custard-filled doughnuts that McCain will never mention it.


16 posted on 06/09/2008 6:18:46 PM PDT by sergeantdave (Governments hate armed citizens more than armed criminals)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saganite
Oh please! McCain is dedicated to carbon trading schemes and signs on to the GW nonsense.

Carbon trading and opening up shale oil for extraction are not inconsistent positions.

In fact, favoring both would fit his (undeserved) "maverick" image quite well, as he's supporting his party on one dimension and opposing it on another. In addtion, both positions appeal to moderates and independents.

McCain has already sent some trial balloons out indicating he favors more domestic oil production. Within the next few weeks, we'll see him come out for it more aggresively.

You heard it here first.

17 posted on 06/09/2008 6:26:20 PM PDT by curiosity
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Moseley
Official Washington decided a long time ago that extracting oil from shale is too expensive.

Considering they don't know the difference between a profit amount and a profit percentage, "Official Washington" needs to get the He11 out of the energy business.

The 535 persons that are Congress have proved time after time that they know nothing about free enterprise and innovation.

18 posted on 06/09/2008 6:48:34 PM PDT by upchuck (Who wins doesn't matter. They're all liberals. Spend your time and money to take back Congress.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: curiosity; Mosely
Shale oil production in Colorado is prohibited by congress. Next.

Wrong. Shell has / had permits for tests on BLM land. [If it really is "had" it is because they were working on refining their next application.] Other techniques may not be economic if we get the collapse in oil prices many are cheering for. Who wants to invest a billion or so in start up costs if oil really is a bubble?

Not all the area or the mineral rights are owned by the Feds. Some is privately owned ... some is owned by the States of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

The problem with oil shale is that the Shell technique is extremely capital intensive and has not been executed on an industrial scale. There is some sentiment that oil shale is the fuel of the future ... and always will be. This isn't my take on the situation, but if you are looking for a short term fix, look somewhere other than oil shale. If the Shell process works, it will still be a while and then don't expect the production rates to look like multiple Ghawars as some have implied based on the amount of kerogen in the Green River formation. It will take a lot of time and a lot of investment to coax the oil out of the rocks.

19 posted on 06/09/2008 8:52:45 PM PDT by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Moseley

Always be suspicious of writers who think Utah, Wyoming and Colorado are part of the Midwest.


20 posted on 06/09/2008 8:54:43 PM PDT by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HangThemHigh
Eastonia (who the hell is that?)

They are in the Baltic Sea region. Most of Estonia's oil production comes from oil shale.

Baltic Sea Regional Factsheet, Oil
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Baltic/Oil.html

21 posted on 06/10/2008 5:09:09 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: R W Reactionairy

Non of the permits allow a commercial sized operation. It is only for pilot plant operations and the time for comment on the Environmental Impact Statement was extended, delaying the ability to get started.

http://ostseis.anl.gov/news/index.cfm


22 posted on 06/10/2008 5:12:45 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: curiosity

You’re implying these carbon trading schemes would be a good trade off in return for getting shale oil??? Good grief. You need to understand the disastrous effect on the economy if that is ever put into law. I see a lot of freepers lately caving to nutty ideas like this. Hope you get your head back on straight.


23 posted on 06/10/2008 5:20:00 AM PDT by saganite
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: curiosity
McCain has already sent some trial balloons out indicating he favors more domestic oil production.

So after voting against it in Congress, he is going to talk about now that the election is getting close?

24 posted on 06/10/2008 5:28:54 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: saganite
You’re implying these carbon trading schemes would be a good trade off in return for getting shale oil???

Nope. Just saying the two issues aren't necessarily connected.

25 posted on 06/10/2008 9:23:53 AM PDT by curiosity
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: thackney
So after voting against it in Congress, he is going to talk about now that the election is getting close?

He voted against ANWR. He has not, to my knowledge, as yet taken a position on shale oil.

26 posted on 06/10/2008 9:24:33 AM PDT by curiosity
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: curiosity
He has not, to my knowledge, as yet taken a position on shale oil.

It will be more difficult to produce Shale Oil with his proposed cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

27 posted on 06/10/2008 10:29:07 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: thackney
It will be more difficult to produce Shale Oil with his proposed cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

How much more difficult?

28 posted on 06/10/2008 1:00:12 PM PDT by curiosity
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: curiosity

Shale oil production is energy intensive. It still produces more output than input, but even more fuel is burned up to get the production.

McCain election web site says he not only wants to freeze greenhouse gas release but reduce it significantly.


29 posted on 06/10/2008 2:25:44 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: thackney
Shale oil production is energy intensive. It still produces more output than input, but even more fuel is burned up to get the production.

Well, it seems unlikely to me that a cap-and-trade scheme would ever get passed, even with Obama and a Democratic Congress or McCain and a Rat Congress. My hunch is that blue dogs and Republicans would at the very least filabuster it.

On the other hand, opening up the shale seems political feasible. It would have to be accompanied by a well-funded grass-roots campaign, and strong support by a sitting president would help too, but it seems to me that lower oil prices are an easy sell in this political environment.

We'll see. Maybe I'm too optimistic.

30 posted on 06/10/2008 8:53:21 PM PDT by curiosity
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson