November 18, 2008
Brian Kennedy (202) 346-8826

IER Applauds BLM on Final Rule for Shale Development

Washington, DC – Daniel Kish, senior vice president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), issued the following statement applauding The Bureau of Land Management’s final rule to govern commercial oil shale development on federal lands, announced today:

“By issuing this final rule, the federal government has issued a challenge to American industry that will spur innovation, competition, and the development of a domestic energy resource larger than any other in the entire world. The United States has more oil shale than Saudi Arabia has crude oil, but the lack of an official leasing program has precluded substantial investment in and production of this resource to date. This rule will effectively change that, and could change the global energy landscape in a way that secures both our economic and energy security for a century to come.”

Oil shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock rich in organic sedimentary material called kerogen. The shale is heated to separate the kerogen from the rock and the resultant liquid is converted to superior quality jet fuel, diesel fuel, kerosene, and other high value products. The United States has 2 trillion barrels of oil shale – more than 7 times the amount of crude oil reserves found in Saudi Arabia, and is enough to meet current U.S. demand for over 250 years. In 2007, however, Congress adopted a rider that prohibited the Department of Interior from completing the task it was assigned in 2005. This prohibition expired at the end of September of this year, along with the outer continental shelf (OCS) energy production ban. The issuance of a final rule gives the United States an official program to bring this massive resource to market for American consumers.

According to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), “Once developed, U.S. oil shale resources will be similar in extent and energy potential to Alberta’s tar sand reserves. When oil shale and tar sands are considered together, the United States and Canada will be able to claim the largest oil reserves in the world.”

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. IER maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.


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