From South End Grounds comes a link to this article by Linda Seeback of the Rocky Mountain News about future oil reserves.|
[...]On the surface, this sounds really good. Too good to be true, actually. But, as Ms. Seebach so aptly put it in her column: "Wow."
According to the article, Shell is very close to putting this to a real test:
The appeal of extracting oil from oil shale has fluctuated over the years, increasing as each new technique is applied, or as oil prices rise, then dropping with oil prices and/or the inability of the techniques to yield cheap oil. Appeal is on the rise again, needless to say. And if successful, the prospect of that much oil located within our borders is appealing indeed!
The RAND Corporation issued a study dated August 31 that basically agrees with the amount of reserves, and mentioned the lower cost claims made by Shell. They cautioned, however, that proven technology today would be very costly.
[...]The same process is being studied as applied to heavy oil and natural bitumen. According to this report, small scale testing and computer simulations have been run.
Some history of oil shale may be found here.
Echoing the RAND Corporation's estimated 20 to 30 year timeline until economical production is possible, this article from World Oil details the dispersion of oil shale deposits:
[...] At present, shale oil is not being produced in the US, and large-scale commercial production is not expected for 20 to 30 years under present economic conditions. But it's not for a lack of reserves. According to published World Energy Council (WEC) estimates, nearly 62% of the world's potentially recoverable oil shale resources are concentrated in the US. At year-end 1999, WEC says the US had a possible shale oil reserve approaching 1.0 trillion barrels.So, like the title of this post says... Faster, Please!
I can see only one drawback to a massive amount of exploitable oil reserves. It only addresses the supply-side of the equation. If we, or any other countries, have access to large amounts of oil, then we may be less inclined to explore alternative energy sources to lessen the demand for oil. Actually, less should be replaced with WILL. Advances in nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal and hydro technology will fall by the wayside without the economic pressure of high oil prices. Major dilemma, there.