Thursday AM October 22nd, 2009
by: Ed Mayberry, October 22, 2009 6:10:00 am
The nation's oil-shale research, development and demonstration program has been testing the feasibility of extracting petroleum-like fluids from sedimentary rock deposits on public lands. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is opening a second, more environmentally sensitive round of oil-shale leasing for Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
"Today energy companies are developing oil-shale technologies on six research development and demonstration lease parcels on public lands in Colorado and Utah, and we know that the technologies are still years away from being ready on a commercial scale. We want to avoid the booms and busts of the past. We want to ensure the potential development is done in a way that is environmentally appropriate and we want to assure that American taxpayers get a fair return from the potential development of America's public lands."
Salazar says for over a century, companies have been working on ways to unlock oil-shale's potential. But before development, several questions have to be answered.
"Are the technologies under development viable on a commercial scale as they move forward from experimental research and development to looking at the possibility of commercial development? Second, how much water would be required for commercial oil-shale development and where would it come from? Third, how much power would be required for commercial oil-shale development? And fourth, what are the impacts of commercial oil-shale development on our land, water, wildlife, climate and communities?"
Energy companies will have 60 days to submit applications for 160-acre leases for research and development.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.