T Nation

U.S. Oil Reserves


Another blow to the whole "peak oil" theory -- at the most, about the best you can say is there may be a peak of cheap oil... With economic incentives, they will develop more efficient and cleaner methods of extraction.


Study reveals huge U.S. oil-shale field

By Jennifer Talhelm
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON ? The United States has an oil reserve at least three times that of Saudi Arabia locked in oil-shale deposits beneath federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, according to a study released yesterday.

But the researchers at the RAND think tank caution the federal government to go carefully, balancing the environmental and economic impacts with development pressure to prevent an oil-shale bust later.

"We've got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East," said James Bartis, RAND senior policy researcher and the report's lead author. He added, "If we go faster, there's a good chance we're going to end up at a dead end."

For years, the industry and the government considered oil shale ? a rock that produces petroleum when heated ? too expensive to be a feasible source of oil.

However, oil prices, which spiked above $70 a barrel this week, combined with advances in technology could soon make it possible to tap the estimated 500 billion to 1.1 trillion recoverable barrels, the report found.

The study, sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, comes about a month after the president signed a new energy policy dramatically reversing the nation's approach to oil shale and opening the door within a few years to companies that want to tap deposits on public lands.

The report also says oil-shale mining, above-ground processing and disposing of spent shale cause significant adverse environmental impacts. Shell Oil is working on a process that would heat the oil shale in place, which could have less effect on the environment.


For years, the Left blocked all efforts, with lawsuits and legislation, to drill for oil and build new refineries. We're paying the price for their actions this very day.
I wish my fellow Americans would finally wake up to what the environmental movement really is -- a hidden effort to destroy this country.


Look, there certainly may be loony people going overboard with respect to environmentalism, but you look a bit loony yourself when you suggest the concept is simply a conspiracy.

Hell, lets poison and pollute the hell out of everything. In fact, I think we need more mecury, lead and radioactive byproducts in our food. Those that say it is bad for us are surely politically motivated.


Actually, it's all a vast Canadian conspiracy.

See, we're sitting on some of the largest oil fields in the world. Problem is, our oil is full of sand. The Arab nations got sand on top and oil beneath; we got it all mixed together. Bummer.

It costs a lot to extract the oil from the sand. Each little grain of sand has to be wiped of oil by hand. Even when we use cheap, illegal immigrant labor (thanks for the tip, Wal-Mart ), it is still quite costly.

It used to be that it cost us about 13-15$ to extract a barrel. Really wasn't worth it when we could buy it on the market for 6$.

But NOW, with prices hovering at around 70$ a barrel, hey! It's great! We've all ordered some dish towels to put on our heads, and should be getting very friendly with your Prez very soon.

Watch for pics of Bush and Paul Martin walking hand in hand any day now.


Are you serious? That is probably the most baseless comment that I ever seen on this board...well within the last five minutes at least.

While I admit that some environmentalists are possibly legally insane(tofu poisoning?), they aren't necessarily trying to detroy the country because they care about environmental sustainability. I think it is incredibly bizarre that somewhere in the past 30 years, the oil industry has become synonomous with the "American Way."

If our country want's long-term energy security, it is going to have to look at a mix of new technologies, conservation, and a move away from oil dependence. While we may not run out of oil, there are severe issues relating to the increase in demand abroad, declining reserves, and those pesky corrupt regimes that always seem to locate themsleves on top of the best oil fields.


Oh yes, and if anyone hasn't read it, here is an excellent article on oil peaking in the ny times.



There's never been any doubt about how much oil shale there is out here. For the past 20 years now Shell and a few others have been working on ways to extract it, but with oil at $20/barrel it just didn't make sense. At around $42/barrel it's about break even, at $70+ expect them to start ramping it up.

And count me amoung the :environmentalists" who would strongly oppose strip mining 250,000 square miles of the western US to get to it. Wholesale destruction of natural resources for profit and cheap gas just isn't an energy policy, no matter how much you like Bush.

If Shell has come up with an in situ recovery method that is viable then I'm all for it.


I wish the oil companies would hurry up so we don't have to kiss ass to those towel heads, I need gas for my Hummer!!!!


It is a common know fact by those in the know that the environmental movement, with their Pro Bono lawyers, have caused a major shift in the economics of the oil industry. Everyone knows that no new refineries have been built for almost 30 years in the US. Approval was given the other day for the construction of a new refinery in Yuma, Arizona by Arizona Clean Fuels an indepedant refiner. They spent over 55 million dollars and 7 years in court fighting endless environmental lawsuits and corrupt judiciaries.

So there is no incentive for the corporate oil refiners to build new facilities because that would depress the price. Investors cannot enter the market like what was possible in times past due to the legal hurdles and costs associated with facing down the EPA and Sierra Club. Foolish SUV driving environmentalists, want their cake, they want to eat it to. Thinking that we are going to have low oil prices while we systematically gut the infrastructure via legal rodeo, thus shifting the load to the giant congolomerates that are swimming in dollars right now. Oil is cheap and plentiful, there is so much damn oil still. For every field that runs low, two new fields are found.


Yeah, but those who get their news from the NY Times believe "God is Dead". They are fabulous turncoats, incapable of consistent quality reportage. I prefer to get my news from sources that don't blaspheme on a regular basis.

Another trick of the environmental movement is to say that oil is running out and that quality fields are becoming harder and harder to find. They say this meaning the fields that haven't been put off limits by some judge in dirty robes. The likes of which are numerable and contain vast amounts of oil. But since some Judge says you can't drill there, the envirofascist go ahead and report the statistics indicating that those fields don't even exist.

Dirty little trick, but nothing new. Just 20 years ago the same people were claiming we would not be able to breath the air, oil would be gone and we would be entering a nuclear winter. There have been so many great scare tactics initiated by the envirocreeps, anyone remember the "killer bees"


I remember when we were all going to die from the next Ice Age, but then, they decided it would be more fun to have global warming instead. Personally, I think that the envirocreeps are just a bunch of prick teases... just hurry up and kill us all off already! The anticipation is almost too much to bear!


If we are going to bring the environment into this, then check out this web page:


And don't forget their FAQ page:


Then there is this little expose:

The use of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) by farmers in the U.S. and internationally is prevalent. Typical of this is the widespread use of DHMO in the U.S. dairy industry. The facts surrounding DHMO's presence in the nation's milk supply are surprising. What may be even more surprising is the silence of the U.S. Government on the issue of DHMO in the milk our families drink every day.

Continued at:


We should really think of banning this stuff. Thousands have already signed petitions to ban it already, including major environmental activists.


I know idiots that consume over a gallon/day of DHMO. The ignorant bastards.


The DHMO(DiHydrogenMonoxide) better not be a the new DDT of the environmentalist movement. Back before DDT was officially banned, it was used to kill off mosquitos around the world, it did so quite effectively, saving thousands of lives from malaria infection. Due to the moratorium placed upon it's use, malaria has become quite prevalent in Africa and South America. So there you have it, environmentalists killing people with their junk science. To the envirofascists, you and I don't matter, we should all be wiped off the face of the planet. Talk about a tough ideology to follow.


I'm absolutely certain we'll never see legislation to ban DHMO. You can rest easy as to the future of this chemical, it's use is too well entrenched for it to ever be replaced by anything else.


You should base your opinion of the article on the mertis of the information being presented rather than who reads it.

Anyway, the article points out that Saudi Arabia refuses to allow anyone to do a full scan of their oil fields to determine their actual reserves. They instead say that we must trust them (if you tell me right now that you trust Saudi Arabia, you are a moron). In addition, the sheer amount of oil being pumped from the ground tends to damage oil retrieval efforts in the long run, leading to future supply drops.

Regardless of your view of the times, the article has an excellent points. If saudi arabia could increase their production anymore, they would. Given our most recent spike it is more likely that their hands are tied by geology and the amount of recoverable reserves today is limited.


I remember this one time while I was in heavy training for a meet. I went two days without any DHMO. I was jones'n bad for just a taste! I swear that stuff is more addictive than any other drug!


Yeah, I've heard that our bodies actually need it to survive now. They sneak it into almost everything we consume. I heard we even excrete it inour urine and saliva. DAMN BASTARDS!


Hey, Y'all !

Headhunter is right on the money with his comment on environmentalists !! I worked in the "oil patch" with a company called Schlumberger for 10 years and have 17 years as a gas well driller/engineer for a Michigan utility. The State and Federal environmental requirements have chased off all but the most persistant oil & gas exploration in my state. Nuclear power plants have been shut down/sold/decomissioned here because the environmental requirements are unreasonable. All but one of our oil refineries have been shut down in the last 15 years or so because it was too expensive to keep up with environmental rules. The companies are all spending their money on facilities and exploration elsewhere (read : outside America).We are headed for an energy deficit - and we may already be there. Politicians are afraid to speak out on the issue of "stuffing" the EPA, for fear of being labelled as "an enemy to the environment" in the mainstream press. So, it is going to take the big energy crisis to finally allow the president to enact more reasonable environmental rules and reg's. That is what it is going to take. It ain't gonna be pretty.


It's Bush's fault. He got us all addicted to it after 9/11 while he was reading a book about the Tri Lateral Commission to a bunch of rich, white kindergarteners.