A find-grained sedimentary rock – Oil Shale – is one of a kind the rock that ‘burns’. Oil Shale has a significant amount of Kerogen and a mixture of a few organic chemical compounds that can be transformed into synthetic liquid fuel, similar to oil (shale oil), or even into shale gas that is just like natural gas. Shale Gas Market Report, published by Allied Market Research, forecasts that the global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.4% between 2015 and 2022.

The oil companies produce shale oil by fracturing the layers of rock that contain the oil. You cannot confuse shale oil with oil shale because they are not the same. Geologists suppose there is more oil shale type of sedimentary out of all the rocks of the world. Facts anticipate that there are over three trillion barrels wealth of fuel which is much more than there is oil in existing reserves globally.

Because of the towering prices of oil in the international market, Oil Shale has started getting a lot of attention. The Oil Shale calorific capacity is inferior to that of the coal. It is much easier to exploit and extract Oil Shale and use them for power generation by direct combustion.

How is Shale Oil produced?

By low temperature restoring of Oil Shale, a synthetic crude oil, Shale Oil can be produced that may be directly used as a fuel oil. It can also be converted to gasoline, diesel oil that is made by further treatment. The by-product of oil shale production after low-temperature retorting are coal gas and semi-coke which can be used as power plant fuel. Oil shale ash is used as a building material and also as soil fertilizer. The refinery oil, oil shale retorting, the semi-coke combustion power generation and the ash residue utilization can together realize the comprehensive consumption of non-solid waste emissions finally. Comprehensive exploitation of oil shale resources not only makes up for the petroleum shortage but also phases down environmental pollution and contamination. Hence, the environmental benefit and the social efficiency are enhanced noticeably.

There are two ways of extraction:

  • First is drilling down up till two miles inside the rock, then high –pressure bursts of water, chemicals and sand to fracture the shale and for it to releases the oil. The sand used, hold the fractures open and this allows the oil to seep into the well.
  • Second method is technologically more advanced and involves horizontal drilling. After drilling a well, a 90 degree curved angle is run horizontally through the thin formation which lets the oil out.

Oil shale has been mined extensively in China, Germany, Brazil, Estonia, Israel and Russia, but up to two-thirds of the world’s supply is found in the Green River basin of the western United States. The utilization of oil shale resources in future might require significant require breakthroughs in industrialized applications and in-situ mining technologies.


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