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Petroleum News: Shell delays oil shale production decision

Vol. 12, No. 9  Week of March 04, 2007

A decision by Royal Dutch Shell on whether to begin commercial oil shale development won’t happen by the end of this decade as planned because the permit process has taken longer than expected.

Jill Davis, spokeswoman for an experimental project in western Colorado, said they’ll decide shortly after 2010 whether to proceed.

“We just need a little more time to get our test projects going on the federal leases,” she said. “Those leases took a little more time than we thought.”

Shell plans to further test its in-ground mining process that uses rows of electric heaters to cook the shale oil out of the rock and pump it to the surface.

Leases for oil shale extraction issued in December were the first granted in 30 years, two decades after companies abandoned large-scale commercial efforts in western Colorado because coaxing oil out of rock was laborious and expensive. The leases were issued to Shell, Chevron and EGL Resources.

—The Associated Press

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