Oil Shale, the Prospects for Its Revival - a New Study from Interwork Media

Oil Shale, the Prospects for Its Revival – a New Study from Interwork Media

Over the course of the last several months, I have published a series of articles on the broad subject of oil shale, utilizing information I had unearthed in the course of researching a book length report on this resource. Now the report is finished and will soon be offered for sale to interested parties. It is entitled "Oil Shale Investments: Opportunities in Resource Acquisition, Extraction, Processing, and Distribution".

What follows may be regarded as both an advertisement and as a partial summary of my findings.

The report, currently advertised on the Interwork Media Website at www.interworkmedia.com, merits your perusal if you are energy investor, an alternative fuel process developer or producer of any stripe, or if you are involved in the production or distribution of traditional fossil fuels.

The reason you should take an interest in oil shale is that it represents both an opportunity and a threat to those active in the energy industry today.

It's an opportunity because current oil shale resources contain well over a trillion barrels of recoverable oil, oil that can be refined into middles distillates or gasoline, or used as a feedstock for petrochemical production. That's roughly equivalent to the size of the heavy oil resources in Venezuela or the oil sands resources in Canada. And most of it's located in a small area in the central Rockies. Moreover, it is highly, highly concentrated and therefore easy to mine. With production of conventional oil failing to keep pace with demand, oil shale and other unconventional resources become increasingly attractive.

What makes this report unique and valuable is that it is the only comprehensive source available on the economics of oil shale production, and economics is absolutely crucial to the development of the resource. The many abortive attempts to develop oil shale in the past all came to naught due to adverse economics vis a vis those of conventional petroleum. But now consistent high prices for light crude oil on the world market have changed the economics to the extent that oil shale production is probably now viable.

The report also analyzes prior attempts to develop the resource and surveys current activities. Our conclusion is that oil shale is not on the verge of a boom, but is at a very early stage of redevelopment. The industry currently lacks a coherent roadmap subject to general agreement among those interests already engaged in oil shale development, and it also lacks a network of support companies and physical infrastructure that would allow large scale production to commence. This in fact is its biggest weakness today, not the economics of production.

We also examine oil shale in the context of its competitors, including gas-to-liquids and coal-to-liquids as well as the vast array of biofuels. Our conclusion is that oil sands, coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids exhibit better process economics than does oil shale, but that oil shale will demonstrate greatly superior production economics than those of any biofuel.

Finally, the report provides an in-depth but fairly high level analysis of the various production techniques and of the physical characteristics of the resource itself as pertains to production. This analysis provides the basis for an understanding of all production techniques, new and old, and enables one to predict which is more likely to succeed in the market.

This also is unique information. No one previously has attempted to establish competitive rankings for the many approaches to oil shale extraction and processing.

The report will be available from Interwork Media at the beginning of 2008.