Fobex 17: “Oil Shale”

Oil Shale

by Bagaskara Widi N. and team

Nowadays, peoples increasly looking for compliment energy to fulfill world energy needs. In fact, that’s begin many research of renewable and clean energy vigorously. But, many problems like effective cost to exploitation and technology still being problem for renewable energy exploitation. Peoples have great dependency to fossil energy. Whereas, we know that conventional petroleum reserves already depleted. Scientist, especially geoscientists should find this answer. Some unconventional energy was found, one of them is oil shale.

Oil shale is essentially rock that contains solid bits of kerogen – a precursor to oil. All of oil is from organic matter that is subjected to intense heat and pressure until it breaks down into hydrocarbons. With the kerogen in oil shale, there wasn’t quite enough heat to finish the job – but that, of course, can be fixed.

The oil subtances in oil shale is solid and can not be pumped in general condition. We should doing many experimental methods to extract it. Also, the exploitation cost is more expensive than conventional petroleum. Several methods used to extract petroleum from oil shale. First, is to mine it and then heating it in the low oxygen condition (almost anaerobic) that is needed to produce oil and gas from kerogen form. This process called retorting. Oil shale originally contain enough of oil and can burn without additional processing.


Source : http://ostseis.anl.gov/

Second, is to heating the oil in situ, applying heat to the information, this called in-situ retorting. Involves heating the oil shale while it is still underground, and then pumping the resulting liquid to the surface. But, this methods still experimental.


Source : http://ostseis.anl.gov/

Tha largest deposits in the world are found in Green River Formation, which cover Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, U.S. Up to 1.8 trillion barrels oil resources was estimated. Shale will be large deposited in the depression which have uplifting phenomenon of mountain. The main process when uplifting and erosion, where the other side is rapid fine-grained sedimentation. Green River Formation was the intermontane basin/lake environments during the Eocene resulted from mountain building and uplift of the Rocky Mountain.

While the oil shale useness was knowing, several countries start to produce oil from oil shale on significant commercial level. Those countries that do have significant oil shale resources, the oil shale idutries does not develop it well, cause it have higher cost than conventional oil. Also, the limitation of technologies being the “homework” to all scientists and engineer.

Reference :


Boggs, S., 2005, Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy : Pearson Prentice Hall, New     Jersey

Ramdhan, A.M., 2010, Overpressure and Compaction in the Lower Kutai Basin, Indonesia,       Disertasi Doktor, Durham University, Durham

https://static01.nyt.com/images (accessed 12th October 2016, at 00.20 AM)

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/080715/difference-between-shale-oil-and-oil-shale.asp (accessed 11th October 2016, at 23.26 PM)

http://ostseis.anl.gov/guide/oilshale/ (accessed 11th October 2016, at 22.40 PM)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *