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Prices & supplies - Nov 18

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Dash for oil highlights fears of Italy's regions

Guy Dinmore , Financial Times
Empty deserts conceal the oil wealth of the Middle East, and frozen wastelands cover Russia's. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Basilicata in southern Italy, Europe's largest onshore oilfield lies beneath forests, farmland and ancient communities.

Wolves, deer and the occasional bear wander through mountain ranges designated as a national park, where clattering oil rigs rise incongruously through tree-tops.

Trenches carved through oak and beech take pipelines down to a complex in Viggiano where gas is separated and the oil piped a further 130km to a refinery. A sulphurous stench writhes up to medieval hilltop villages where shuttered windows and crumbling masonry testify to a population in flight. Not surprisingly, environmentalists and residents are alarmed by the plans of oil companies - Eni, Total, Shell and Exxon Mobil - to double production from this highly profitable field and supply some 10 per cent of Italy's total oil needs within several years...
(18 November 2008)


Interior Dept sets rules for oil shale program

Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Interior Department on Monday released the final regulations creating a commercial oil shale program that could produce up to 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil the western United States.

The department proposed rules for the oil shale program in July, but until recently shale development has been banned by lawmakers for environmental reasons. Democratic lawmakers allowed the prohibition to expire at the end of September, however, as they faced an intense showdown with Republicans over increasing domestic energy production.

"In the short run, the U.S. economy will continue to rely on oil and that means we need to increase supply, particularly here at home," Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management Stephen Allred told reporters.

Allred said U.S. oil shale resources could meet current U.S. oil needs for 110 years and help supplant foreign fuel imports.

Oil shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock containing organic matter from which oil may be produced. The United States holds more than half the world's oil shale resources, with the largest known deposits located in a 16,000-square mile (10.2 million acres/4.1 million hectares) area in the Green River formation in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming...
(17 November 2008)
The statement by Allred about meeting current U.S. oil demand for 110 years is left mostly unchallenged in this article. See below for more on the current status of oil shale technology & economics.-SO


Oil Shale Pushed as Domestic Oil Source, but Many Doubts Remain

Kent Garber, US News & World Report
MEEKER, COLO.—With the fate of domestic oil production promising to spill over into a new administration, oil companies in northwestern Colorado are steadily pushing ahead with projects to develop the American West's vast deposits of oil shale, estimated to contain the equivalent of more than 800 billion barrels of oil—three times more than Saudi Arabia's proven oil reserves.

But they are also among the first to caution against premature exuberance by lawmakers, saying that commercial production, despite some progress, is still years away.

Such disparities between political rhetoric and on-the-ground reality are a common theme among national proposals for new sources of energy, but in the case of oil shale, the gap is particularly stark...
(3 November 2008)

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