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Oil Shale

[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Harvard Kennedy School researcher forecasts sharp increase in world oil production capacity and risk of price collapse

June 27, 2012

World oil production capacity to 2020 (crude oil and NGLs, excluding biofuels). Source: Maugeri 2012. Click to enlarge.

Oil production capacity is surging in the United States and several other countries at such a fast pace that global oil output capacity could grow by nearly 20% from the current 93 million barrels per day to 110.6 mbpd by 2020, according to a new study by a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School. Such an increase in capacity could prompt a plunge or even a collapse in oil prices, he suggests.

The findings by Leonardo Maugeri, a former senior executive vice president of the oil company Eni, and now a fellow in the Geopolitics of Energy Project in the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, are based on an original field-by-field analysis of the world’s major oil formations and exploration projects.

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DOE, DOI and EPA formally partner to coordinate and align research associated with developing US unconventional gas and oil

April 13, 2012

Venn diagram summarizing the core research competencies of each of the three agencies. Click to enlarge.

The US Departments of Energy (DOE) and of the Interior (DOI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a formal partnership to coordinate and align all research associated with development of the US’ unconventional natural gas and oil resources such as shale gas and oil. The partnership exemplifies the cross-government coordination required under President Obama’s executive order released earlier today, which mandated a new Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources. (Earlier post.)

The new partnership will help coordinate current and future research and scientific studies undertaken by the three federal agencies. A primary goal of this effort will be to identify research topics where collaboration among the three agencies can be most effectively and efficiently conducted to provide results and technologies that support sound policy decisions by the agencies responsible for ensuring the prudent development of energy sources while promoting safe practices and human health. A broader set of activities will be coordinated under the newly ordered Interagency Working Group.

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US BLM issues draft PEIS for oil shale and oil sands; significantly scales back public land available for commercial leasing

February 04, 2012

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published the Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) and Possible Land Use Amendments for Allocation of Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resources on Lands Administered by the BLM in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The publication opens a 90-day public review and comment period.

Any new land allocation decisions made on the basis of the Final PEIS would replace the land allocation decisions made in 2008 that proposed making up to 2 million acres of public lands available for commercial oil shale leasing in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming and 431,000 acres available for oil sands leasing in Utah.

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DOE to award up to $12.4M to 11 projects focused on shale gas and enhanced oil recovery

August 02, 2011

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected 11 research projects that will help find ways to extract more energy from unconventional oil and gas resources while reducing environmental risks for awards totalling $12.4 million.

The selections include $10.3 million for eight projects intended to reduce the environmental risks of shale gas development while accelerating the application of new exploration and production technologies; and $2.1 million for three projects investigating innovative processes for extracting additional oil from mature domestic oil fields including Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). All of the research contracts will be administered by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), under the management of FE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

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