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Updated on August 22, 2011

Important Shale

Because we are so dependent on some other countries for our energy sources, we have been playing a game politically, for years, and it has made things more difficult for our country. With more new technology, we have discovered that shale offers us a new and abundant source and may well be a saving natural resource of the future for our country.

Shale is a Sedimentary rock that contains solid bituminous material called Kerogen. These are released as petroleum-like liquids when the rock is heated in a process called Pyrolysis. Oil shale was formed millions of years ago by deposits of silt and organic compounds that were deposited on the floors of oceans and lakes. Heat and pressure changed the deposits of debris into oil shale.This was how oil was similarly formed.

Do you know that oil shale rock burns without processing? This shale can be processed to create fuel-like oil taken by oil wells. It is harder to extract the oil from the shale and at the present time the process is more expensive. The shale is in abundance and there needs to be more economic methods to mine the valuable resource. In the process it has to be mined or taken from the deposits and then processed by heating the material to high temps and the liquid that is formed has to be separated and deposited into large collection vats. Another process involves heating the shale rock while it is in the ground and then pumped out using similar methods as the oil wells used in industry methods.

Oil shale in our country is abundant in big deposits found in "the Green River Formation".This is found in three states in great abundance. The states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming have theses big formations and are under federal government control. Researches have shown that as much as two trillion barrels of potential oil is located there in the form of this raw material. It is said that oil shale has the potential to supply our country for more than 400 years into our futures.Our federal government has most of the control over the lands where the shale rock is found in the greatest abundance and there would not be as much private interest or control from this. Oil shale processing is not new and is processed in small quantities in areas around the globe. It has not reached larger production due to the difficult processes involved in mining and producing the raw material. A more cost efficient method must first be arrived upon and then it may well go into full gear around the world in production. Our country will certainly benefit and be in great shape when this occurs. We will not be subjected to political pressures that we, as a country, must endure due to our dependence on other nations.

Oil shale rock may be processed by two mining methods, Surface mining and Underground mining. Underground mining is more involved and difficult then the Surface Mining process and is being done more in recent times. Another valuable resource is that of Shale Gas. The process of natural gas extraction is in more production world wide and is more economically viable and much better on the environment. It is said to be more of a "Green Method' of Natural resource production due to the by-products and less harmful effects on our environment. This process of Shale gas development requires "Fracking" or breaking shale deposits to get at the natural gas found there.There has been concern about this method due to some slight environmental effects. The effects are so minimal, some of the protests of various sources will be more closely monitored and better methods may need to be developed.The Appalachian Basin has proven to be a major deposit and may hold as much as 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas and could supply a nation for a two or three year time frame. Shale gas production has already saved our country ten billion dollars from dependency on foreign markets and is found from Texas to Pennsylvania and provides thousands of jobs all across the country. In the future and by 2045, our nation will likely depend upon the natural gas and as much as fifty percent of our needs will be supplied, as a natural resource. We as people will keep searching and find resources that will meet our needs. We have this determination and great spirit of nationalism, that has helped us become the great nation we are in the world community. Fossil fuels are just the beginning and with the great researchers and scientists of America and other countries, we will develop new and exciting ways to find fuel and meet our needs, well into our futures.


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