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Australian Shale-Oil Venture Collapses

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-13-04 01:54 PM
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Australian Shale-Oil Venture Collapses
"The collapse yesterday of Southern Pacific Petroleum marked the end of one of the most enduring and ambitious dreams of the local resources industry: shale oil.


When it collapsed, Southern Pacific was at work on the Stuart project near Gladstone, one of a clutch of shale oil prospects it held west of the Queensland regional centre.

While there have been other resource dreams that came to nought - such as Australian Magnesium Corp - shale oil differed. It died a lingering death that began not long after the concept emerged at the start of the 1980s, when US oil giant Exxon said it would outlay a then unheard of $400 million to buy half the Rundle oil shale prospect from Southern Pacific and its Central Pacific Minerals stablemate. Southern Pacific and Central Pacific, for much of their life known as the Rundle twins, merged in 2002.

Doubts about the technical feasibility of extracting shale oil and environmental problems arose soon after Rundle hit the news, and were never resolved. It was a complex and inefficient process. In fact, shale oil is not actually oil at all, but kerogen, with the shale heated and the resulting vapour becoming liquid oil when cooled. The numbers just never added up: shale oil was supposed to be economic with the price of oil at more than $US13 a barrel, while Southern Pacific had reserves in excess of 26 billion barrels of oil, not far off Libya's 29.5 billion barrels. The technical issues never were resolved and sceptical investors kept well clear of the shares.

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brainshrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-13-04 01:58 PM
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1. Shale oil is what the apologists use as the main argument
against the impending Peak Oil crisis.

"We have plenty of oil leaft...just look at the shale oil!" They claim.

Shale oil is expensive and highly polluting. We should be trying to save what little oil we have left instead of wasting it on war.
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