Are We The "New Middle East"?
Oh, boy. Oil has hit over $70.00 a barrel, and gas is $3.00 a gallon in many places. Demand in China is speeding up at a ferocious rate.
We're in for it.
Or are we?
Hey, folks, guess what? Right here in the good ol' U.S. of A., in our own west,we have more oil than all other proven reserves on the planet - more than a TRILLION barrels. Senator Orrin Hatch has said "The amounts of oil are staggering. Who would hae guessed that in just Colorado and Utah, there is more recoverable oil than in the Middle East?"
All this oil lies beneath the Green River Formation, a barren stretch of land in portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Rand Corporation, a public policy think tank, says that this small region can produce three million barrels of oil per day, and that's a conservative estimate. The U.S. Department of Energy thinks that the eventual output could be ten million barrels a day.
Just for the fun of it, here are some comparative figures between what we have and what some other countries have:
1) 8 times as much as Saudi Arabia
2) 18 times as much as Iraq
3) 21 times as much as Kuwait
4) 22 times as much as Iran
5) 500 times as much as Yemen
Now isn't that special!
All this oil is trapped in oil shale under 16,000 square miles of rock and sand. When heated, crude oil bubbles out.
There are other places that also have oil shale, but they are few and far between; China, for example, has been using oil shale since 1929. Estonia's economy is dependent on oil shale - over 90% of its electricity is powered by shale oil, and it is one of that country's chief exports. In 1991, Brazil built the world's largest oil shale facility, and they've already produced more than 1.5 million tons of oil to make high quality transportation fuels. Jordan, Morocco, and Australia have recently announced plans to utilize their shale oil resources. Alberta, Canada, has some shale oil too, and is currently extracting it. The "shale oil age" is about to begin, and the good ol' USA need no longer make nice with the enemy.
Here are some 2005 oil shale resource figures from the U.S. Department of Energy:
1) U.S. - 72.0% of the world supply of oil shale
2) Brazil - 5.4%
3) Jordan - 4.2%
4) Morocco - 3.5%
5) Australia - 2.1%
6) China - 1.5%
7) Estonia - 1.1%
8) Israel - 0.3%
Now, that's REALLY special!
Extracting the oil out of this reserve hasn't been economically feasible until recently, so the government - which owns 80% of the land it's in - has kept it for a "rainy day."
Well, when oil hit $50.00 a barrel and no end to price increases was in sight, the rainy day had finally arrived. On August 8th, 2005, President Bush signed into law a mandate to extract it: The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which calls for the opening phases of extraction. Of the two trillion barrels of proven oil in the Green River Formation, between 800 billion and 1.2 trillion barrels are recoverable - the amount we can get out and use with current technology.
The beauty of the whole thing is that just as oil prices were hitting all-time highs, the extraction technology had drastically improved, making extraction almost cheap. Until now, the cost was prohibitive compared to buying Middle East etc. oil. For the past five years, one experimental extraction method has been able to produce oil for about $25.00/barrel.
When President Bush signed The Energy Policy Act of 2005, dozens of companies came forth with plans; six were ultimately selected to be given 160 acres of land each to test their oil shale extraction methods for commercial production. Today, three remain in the running.
The U.S. Federal News Service says that the winning company wiould be responsible for launching America's first commercial oil shale operation and production, "...leading the way to more than two trillion barrels of oil shale deposits in the Green River Formation."
Now here are some more delicious figures from the U.S. Department of Energy for the total oil reserves from all sources in some countries:
1) Saudi Arabia - 261.8 billion barrels
2) Iraq - 112.5 billion
3) UAE - 97.8 billion
4) Kuwait - 96.5 billion
5) Iran: - 89.7 Billion
6) Qatar - 15.2 billion
7) Oman - 5.5 billion
7) Yemen - 4.0 billion
8) Syria - 2.5 billion
TOTAL: 685.5 billion
Now for the U.S:
1) Shale oil - 1000.00 billion barrels
2) Coal oil - 500.00 billion
3) Pet. coke - 0.15 billion
4) oil reserves - 22.7 billion
5) EOR oil - 32.0 billion
TOTAL: 1.6 trillion
Up to now, we've had the impression that we were at the mercy of the likes of the Middle East, Hugo Chavez (CITGO is his property, just in case you feel like boycotting something), and Vincente Fox.
I guess not, huh?
Maybe we can invite all our "Oil Friends" to a performance of Toby Keith singing his great song, "How Do You Like Me Now?"
I confess, the thought gives me an enormous amount of petty pleasure!