Can The Shale Boom Avoid These Bottlenecks?

by Nick Cunningham of Shale companies continue to drill at a frenzied pace, adding rigs and breaking US oil production levels with each passing week. Yet, the oil production is becoming increasingly geographically concentrated. Not only is the Permian basin accounting for much of the new oil production in... Read more →

ExxonMobil to triple Permian production by 2025; >$2 billion in terminal and transportation expansion

ExxonMobil plans to triple total daily production to more than 600,000 oil-equivalent barrels by 2025 from its operations in the Permian Basin shale oil region in West Texas and New Mexico. Tight oil production from the Delaware and Midland basins will increase five-fold in the same period. The company said... Read more →

Why Is The Shale Industry Still Not Profitable?

By Nick Cunningham of Echoing the criticism of too much hype surrounding US shale from the Saudi oil minister last week, a new report finds that shale drilling is still largely not profitable. Not only that, but costs are on the rise and drillers are pursuing “irrational production.” Riyadh-based... Read more →

By Gaurav Agnihotri for With the recently concluded nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries, oil prices have already started heading downward on sentiments that Iran’s crude oil supply would further contribute to the already rising global supply glut. The economic crisis in Greece, OPEC’s high production levels... Read more →

A team at the University of Calgary (Canada) has compared the energy intensities and lifecycle GHG emissions of unconventional oils (oil sands and oil shale) alongside shale gas, coal, lignite, wood and conventional oil and gas. In a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they report... Read more →

by James Stafford of What does it take to build up a new region for oil and gas development? Obviously, the resources have to be in place and economically recoverable. But it is not as easy as just sticking a drill into the ground and pumping out oil and... Read more →

The US Department of Energy (DOE) released a new report that frames an integrated challenge and opportunity space around the water-energy nexus for DOE and its partners and lays the foundation for future efforts. Present day water and energy systems are tightly intertwined. Water is used in all phases of... Read more →

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... Read more →

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... Read more →

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

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... Read more →

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

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... Read more →

KPMG survey finds majority of energy execs see oil over $121/barrel this year; shale expected to have transformative impact, investment in alternatives increasing

Energy executives expect continued volatility in the price-per-barrel of oil for the remainder of the year, with 64% predicting crude prices to exceed $121 per barrel. The executives also foresee shale oil and gas having a transformative effect on helping to meet the world’s energy needs, according to the results... Read more →

System diagram of EPICC process. Electricity generation in subsurface provides the heat requirement for retorting. Separation of gaseous from liquid HCs can occur in the subsurface at a condensation front or in above ground separation with reinjection. Credit: ACS, Mulchandani and Brandt. Click to enlarge. A team at Stanford University... Read more →

A comparison of estimates of the energy return on investment (EROI) at the wellhead for conventional crude oil, or for crude product prior to refining for oil shale. Source: Cleveland and O’Connor. Click to enlarge. A new report commissioned by Western Resource Advocates, a non-profit environmental law and policy organization,... Read more →

DOE Seeking Comments on Report on Research Strategy for Developing Unconventional Fossil Energy Resources

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking comments from industry and academia on a draft report outlining domestic unconventional fossil energy resource opportunities and associated technology applications, in support of an overall strategy for the further development of these resources. The report, Unconventional Fossil Energy: Domestic Resource Opportunities and... Read more →

US Department of the Interior Offering Second Round of Oil Shale Research and Development Leases; Cuts Potential Commercialization Acreage 87.5%

The US Department of the Interior (DOI) is offering additional opportunities for energy companies to conduct oil shale research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects on public lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. (Earlier post.) Energy companies will have 60 days after publication of a Federal Register notice to submit applications... Read more →

GHG emissions for ATP shale (low and high cases) and conventional gasoline in grams of CO2e per MJ of final fuel delivered. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Converting oil shale to gasoline via the Alberta Taciuk Processor (ATP)—an above-ground shale retort—results in fuel-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of ~130-150 g CO2... Read more →

Researchers Develop Process That Could Result in Higher Yield from Oil Shale

Results from the retort experiments for oil shale (OS) samples. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS Researchers in Canada and Turkey have developed a new process that could lead to the more economical production of oil shale with increased yield. In laboratory-scale experiments, the researchers added inexpensive iron powder to four... Read more →

Shell In-Situ Oil Shale Process Emits 21-47% More GHG on a Full Fuel Cycle Basis than Conventional Petroleum

Full-fuel-cycle emissions from low and high primary cases for Shell ICP, in grams of carbon equivalent per megajoule of refined fuel delivered as compared to conventional oil emissions. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS. Shell’s in situ conversion process for oil shale produces an energy output of 1.2-1.6 times greater than... Read more →

Queensland Premier Puts 20-Year Moratorium on Oil Shale Development

Queensland (Australia) Premier Anna Bligh has placed a 20-year moratorium on the development of oil shale in the state. The announcement immediately blocks the further development of a planned demonstration plant over the McFarlane oil shale deposit in the Whitsunday region. Bligh said she would not allow the environment to... Read more →

USGS Assesses Bakken Formation to Hold 3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil; 25 Times More Than 1995 Estimate

Map showing Williston Basin Province boundary (in red), Bakken-Lodgepole Total Petroleum System (TPS) (in blue), and major structural features in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Click to enlarge. North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known... Read more →

Schlumberger Acquires Raytheon Technology for Oil Extraction from Oil Shale and Oil Sands

Radio Frequency / Critical Fluid Oil Extraction Technology. Click to enlarge. Schlumberger, a leading oilfield services company, has acquired Raytheon’s technology for the extraction of oil from oil shale and oil sands. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The technology, developed by Raytheon and partner CF Technologies for... Read more →

BLM Publishes Draft Environmental Study for Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resources on Public Lands; Proposes Allocating 1.9M Acres for Development

Most geologically prospective oil shale resources within the Green River formation basins in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Click to enlarge. As required under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to guide future management of public... Read more →

Petrobras and Total to Evaluate Oil Shale Opportunities in Africa and in the Middle East

General schema for a Gas Combustion Retort of the type used by Petrobras in its Petrosix oil shale production process. Click to enlarge. Petrobras and Total E&P Activites Petrolieres signed a cooperation agreement to evaluate the exploration, development, and production of oil extracted from oil shale deposits in specific regions... Read more →

US Task Force on Unconventional Fuels Completes Plan; Calls Situation Urgent and Targets 7M Barrels Per Day by 2035

Unconventional fuels objectives for 2035. Click to enlarge. The Task Force on Strategic Unconventional Fuels, established by the Secretary of Energy under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, has completed an integrated strategy and program plan to coordinate and accelerate the commercial development of strategic unconventional fuels within the United... Read more →

Petrobras to Assess Oil Shale Production in Jordan

Brazil’s Petrobras has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources (MEMR) of Jordan to undertake a 2-year technical and economic viability study for the use of Petrobras’ oil shale technology—Petrosix—in Jordan’s Attarat field. Petrobras has been working on oil shale production since 1954.... Read more →

Chevron and Los Alamos Jointly Research Oil Shale Hydrocarbon Recovery

Oil shale bed. Chevron Corporation and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have created a joint research project to improve the recovery of hydrocarbons trapped in oil shales and slow-flowing oil formations. The goal of the Chevron-Los Alamos collaboration is to develop an environmentally responsible and commercially viable process to recover... Read more →

US House Passes Ocean Drilling Bill; Calls for Canadian Model for Oil Shale Development

Last week the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 4761—the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2006— by a vote of 232-187. The bill lifts a 25-year ban on oil and natural gas drilling off most of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the eastern part of the Gulf of... Read more →

Raytheon and Partner Combine Radio Frequency and Supercritical Fluid Technology for Oil Shale Processing

Raytheon Company—a $22-billion company better known for its defense and government electronics, aerospace, information technology, and technical services capabilities—and its partner, CF Technologies, have developed a technology that may result in the more efficient extraction of oil from shale. The technology, for which Raytheon and CF Technologies have filed patents,... Read more →

BLM Drops ExxonMobil from Oil Shale RDD Project Bidding

Oil shale territory. The Grand Junction (Colorado) Sentinel reports that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has dropped ExxonMobil’s application for a 160-acre lease for oil-shale research, development and demonstration. (Earlier post.) According to the report, the BLM spokespeople present at an Open House on the project did not know... Read more →

Biocatalytic Desulfurization for Bitumen and Heavy Crude

Scheme for a biodesulfurization process. Click to enlarge. Energy & Environmental Partners, a privately held technology company led by the former President and COO of Clean Diesel Technologies, has launched a new commercial licensing program for US and Canadian patents covering the use of microorganisms for the desulfurization of high-sulfur... Read more →

BLM Announces First Cut on Oil Shale RD&D Proposals

Location of the Green River formation and main basins. Click to enlarge. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that eight proposals for oil-shale research development and demonstration (RD&D) leases filed by six companies have been deemed eligible for continued consideration. The eight proposals were among 20 nominations the BLM... Read more →

BLM Meetings on Oil Shale and Tar Sands Development Surface the Water Issue

Oil shale areas in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Click to enlarge. The Bureau of Land Management, part of the US Department of the Interior, has begun public meetings to obtain comments for the programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) required to support commercial oil shale and tar sands leasing on federal... Read more →

China Power Moves to Develop Oil Shale; Tapping Wind Also

Jilin Province China Daily. One of China’s top five power producers, China Power Investment Corp (CPIC), is planning to develop oil shale resources, in addition to expanding beyond coal-fired power generation into wind and nuclear. The State-owned electricity generator has inked a framework agreement with the local government in Jilin... Read more →

Digital Gas Licenses High-Temperature Fuel Cell Method for Oil Shale Production and Electricity Co-Generation

Digital Gas has signed an agreement to partner with a private US-based company that owns the exclusive rights to a high temperature fuel cell (HTFC) method to be applied to in-situ geothermic production of oil shale and other unconventional sources of synthetic crude. The method is expected to dramatically reduce... Read more →

Shell to Take 61% Stake in China Oil Shale Venture

Shell’s in-situ process heats the shale in the ground to convert it into oil. Royal Dutch Shell is taking a 61% stake in a new joint venture firm that will invest up to US$150 million in exploring and developing oil shale deposits in northeastern China. The new joint venture company,... Read more →