In Canada, tapping the tar sands has been called the most environmentally destructive project on the planet. In the United States, some equally not-so-eco-friendly technologies have been developed to extract oil from shale in Colorado. If the Interior Department has its way, exploiting U.S. oil shale is going to become less financially burdensome for oil companies. Don't worry, the environmental impact will probably remain high.
Government Willing to Take a Hit on Royalties to Develop Oil Shale Production
Under draft rules issued yesterday, the royalty rates which oil companies pay the federal government for drilling on public lands will be reduced for companies wishing to develop oil shale extraction in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Currently companies pay 12.5-18.8% to the feds for on and offshore oil development, while the lowest Interior Department proposal fixes the royalty rate for oil shale at 5%.
Yahoo News quotes Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne: "For years, the cost of extracting oil from shale exceeded the benefit, but today that calculus is changing. This makes oil shale a highly promising resource."
According to the Interior Department shale oil costs between about $38-65 per barrel to produce, whereas onshore conventional oil costs about $19.50 per barrel. The Department also points out that, due to the higher energy requirements of extracting the oil, shale oil produces less energy than conventional oil, coal or wood.
By some estimates, there could be 800 billion barrels of oil locked up in oil shale and 70% of that is on public lands.
I Guess the Bush Administration Doesn't Think Highly of Pickens' or Gore's Proposals
The fact that this proposal is announced just days after Al Gore calls for all U.S. electricity be generated renewably within 10 years, and two weeks after T. Boone Pickens unveiled his plan to radically increase U.S. wind power and use natural gas to offset petroleum in transportation, shows how mired in business-as-usual thinking regarding energy and environmental policy the current administration is.
Rather than wholeheartedly support the kind of energy policy, civic infrastructure and lifestyle changes that will allow the United States to prosper in a post-carbon, green economy—and build a clean energy independence—the focus is on populist false promises that developing oil shale or lifting bans on offshore oil drilling will reduce short term energy costs. Any long term energy independence that oil shale production may provide will be at the cost of furthering global climate change and increasing environmental degradation of U.S. public lands.
via :: Yahoo News
Tar Sands, Energy Independence
Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project on Earth
Oil Shale Plant Power by "Clean Coal"--and Cooled by Colorado River Water?
Al Gore's Repowering America Speech Video Clip
Wind Power to Displace Natural Gas for Electricity, Natural Gas to Power Cars: The Pickens Plan