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Is the United States Sitting on Trillions of Barrels of Oil?

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Five years ago, if someone told you the U.S. would be independent in 15 years, you might have thought that person was crazy. But thanks in large part to technological advancements in drilling, it's very possible that North America could be energy independent by 2020. Given this fundamental change, if I were to tell you that America may have an oil source that's more than the rest of the world's combined proven reserves, would you believe it?

There's a unique geological formation in the U.S. that could hold as much as 6 trillion barrels of oil, but there's a chance that we may never even touch this vast resource. Let's see why we haven't really touched it, and why we may never use it.

Kerogen, the kraken of energy sources
Kerogen lies deep under the surface, and very little is known about it. Like bituminous oil sands, kerogen is a solid organic matter that isn't extractable like traditional oil. Unlike bitumen, kerogen can't be extracted through an organic chemical solvent. It's an organic material within the rock itself, and the rock must be thermally treated to get the oil out. Total deposits of this type of resource is in the trillions of barrels, but much of it is trapped in places where the total oil extracted per ton of rock is so small as to not be economically feasible. For a kerogen deposit to be even remotely feasible, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the formation would need to be at least 15 feet thick and yield more than 15 gallons per ton of rock.  

The EIA estimates that there are about 2.9 trillion barrels of recoverable kerogen deposits worldwide, and nestled tight within the Wind River, Unita, and Wasach Mountains of Wyoming and Colorado is the largest kerogen deposit in the world, with about 1.8 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil. If all of this oil were economically recoverable, we could supply U.S. energy demand for more than 250 years based on current demand.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Don't run out and buy land just yet
While it may seem attractive at first to tap these fields, we must also consider the economics of such an endeavor. Since kerogen deposits can't be pumped to the surface like a traditional well, we need to use two methods: underground mining with above-surface thermal treatment or in situ thermal treatment. The latter is an experimental method Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) developed that heats the source rock over a few years until the source organic material has vaporized and can be recovered through well extraction. Several major oil and gas companies have done some research in this field and hold patents on some methods, but Shell has been the one major that has pushed the science in this field.

Another obstacle for this region is that more than 80% of all the land these resources are located on is federally owned. To date, the Bureau of Land Management has offered exploration contracts to four companies: Shell, Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) , IDT (NYSE: IDT  ) , and Oil Shale Exploration.   

Any way you try to do it, kerogen extraction is extremely energy intensive and therefore expensive. To extract 1 million barrels per day -- about 5% of U.S. daily consumption -- it would require 12 gigawatts of dedicated electricity generation, 46 billion gallons of water per year, and mining and remediation of 500 million tons of rock per year. Just to give those numbers a little perspective, that's enough power for 9 million homes, a 45-day water supply for all metropolitan New York City, and 50% of all coal produced in the U.S. last year.

Based on a report in 2005, today's oil prices would need to be in the $110-per-barrel range before it's considered economically feasible. This number could be much higher, though, because much of the data it's based on is from the 1980s and environmental regulations are much tighter than what they were back then. Also keep in mind that kerogen extraction technology is not yet complete. Shell has garnered some token levels of production, but the most recent EIA Energy Outlook Report doesn't see significant production from kerogen extraction until 2035.

What a Fool believes
There are several economic, technological, and political hurdles that need to be crossed before kerogen extraction can be made a reality. By then, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the price for a barrel of oil could be well over $250. So the market could easily handle the elevated price to produce this source. 

On the other hand, if oil prices have gone this high, it may be possible that people will be looking for an alternative energy source. Advancements in natural-gas and electric vehicle technology are making the transition away from oil even more possible. Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE  ) currently advertises a gallon equivalent of natural gas to be $1.50 less than diesel. Fuel costs like this could be very attractive to fuel-heavy industries such as trucking, which consumes more than 25 billion gallons of fuel per year.

The possibility that oil will reach such high prices would prove to be extremely prohibitive to economic growth. So hopefully we'll be able to diversify energy sources enough to mitigate the impact between now and 2035. It may be best to think of the Green River Formation as an "in case of emergency, break glass" resource: While we can hope we'll never need it, it's good to know it's there. 

If you're on the lookout for some currently intriguing energy plays, check out The Motley Fool's "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." For free access to this special report, simply click here now.

Read/Post Comments (77) | Recommend This Article (55)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 10:24 AM, mwenik wrote:

    While the potential for this much untapped energy is terrific and the mention of alternative fueled vehicles is definitely relevant, one alternative fuel is not mentioned. Propane is readily available and can fuel vehicles more efficiently than natural gas. The cost of conversion is less expensive and the refueling infrastructure is a fraction of what a natural gas refueling station is. It is amazing how the natural gas and electric lobbies can push their product, but how another domestically produced source of energy gets a back seat.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 10:44 AM, Gobbluth529 wrote:

    1.21 gigawatts!

    What the hell is a gigawatt?

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 10:56 AM, sli65 wrote:

    I am actually taking a class in college right now. Independece of a Man SCI 207 and we are stuyding alternative methods of energy. and in our book oil is a topic. I myself believe there is tons of oil in the ground in the United States and the government knows, but we buy oil from other countries to save it for a rainy day, America is rich, we are not broke. The government just thinks they are smart.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 10:56 AM, MadDogMedina wrote:

    It is what is needed to power the Flux Capacitor as stated below...

    ...The flux capacitor requires 1.21 gigawatts of electrical power to operate, equal to 1,210,000,000 watts which, to give a sense of scale, is approximately the output of a single pressurized water reactor at a nuclear power plant. It equates to around 1.6 million (continuous) horsepower, but is only discharged for a moment.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 10:58 AM, onlyprofromdover wrote:

    Until we use up all available oil from other countries we ( read oil companies ) won't use ours to its fullest potential. We allow them to charge whatever they want so they have no impetus to drill here. When only our oil is available they will be in complete control.......

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 10:59 AM, totalmann wrote:

    The elite knows what we have and they are saving it for themselves so they will be able to survive after they kill us all off!

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:02 AM, rdmcdonald48 wrote:

    We have a Department of Natural Resources that owns millions upon millions of acres of land in this country for a reason. Long ago, when Congress and Corporations decided it in the best interest of the "parties" to control energy resources and its price, the government was the best option for land purchases. Under the guise of creating set asides, National Forests and National Parks they set about with geological surveys locating the best possible, and most scenic, land that could be bought without raising the people's suspicion because it was being bought for "the people" to use for recreational purposes and to maintain the "pristine beauty of the wilderness". .

    Now you know why it cannot be tapped as a source for "energy independence".

    Sit down and look at the historical data yourself and then look at where the best chances of finding resources, including gold and silver as well as other precious commodities, are. The government owns 80% of it.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:08 AM, NandDOhio wrote:

    We all know that much of the worlds oil reserves will be depleted in the future. The United States Government knows this all too well. They know already that there are vast reserves of oil right here in the confines of this country but they are not willing to use it at this point in time. So they drag their feet and make up stories about how costly it would be to extract or it's not the type of crude we currently have a demand for. It's merely a power play to get the rest of the world to use up their current resources of oil so that someday we'll be the only ones left with oil. It is a smart move both in a business sense and defense. There is not a military elsewhere in the world that can move without oil. One of these day's we'll have all the oil and the others won't. That's the goal.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:16 AM, pepelay wrote:

    Oil,oil,oil! First of all we need to return this land back to rightful owners Native American people;Holy bible clearly states that 'Thou shall not Steal'.In North America alone where USA & Canada is plundering more oil than SaudiArabia & Kuwait output, over $3 BILLION daily, as native people remain poorest citizens on their own beloved motherland.Before Europeans came,Native population in North&South America Continent was 15 millions; European population in Europe was 30 millions.Today, native population at 30 million and Europeans at 1 BILLION! [Google 'sicko uncle Sam' at forum]

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:19 AM, Ronmc2 wrote:

    "To extract 1 million barrels per day would require 12 gigawatts of dedicated electricity generation"

    According to Steven Chu & Prius Drivers, that would make Kerogen another Green Energy.

    Being a Bio-Diesel Bus Mechanic-Green Job

    Being a Diesel Bus Mechanic-NOT a Green Job

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:21 AM, sdchanman wrote:

    Shhhhhh time to make those areas National Parks so no one can drill and Saudi's can keep counting our money.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:24 AM, jokerjones69 wrote:

    Look's like it is time to tap Yellowstone !! I know every one would love to preserve Yellowstone national Park as a pristine place but reality often overrides sentiments and that place is nothing more than 1 huge thermal plant . Tap Yellowstone for free heat/power generation , build a few new dams in the area and you have all the power you could ever want just for extracting that oil ! Also there is more than enough power there along with all the still untapped and currently wasted natural gas that there is no reason USA citizens should even have to pay for electricity . So we could by pass the oil all together and just go electric for the majority of commuter traffic .

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:26 AM, lang1943 wrote:

    Russia also has massive amounts of oil that have not been tapped & is much easier to access.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:29 AM, gouchonarian wrote:

    Realize that all the oil and wind we can conjure up will be sold to the highest bidder . Whatever country that may be.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:49 AM, cityperson wrote:

    So, we have trillions of barrels of oil, we also have the EPA and other NIMBY people and lots of enviro groups. This is our problem with the trillions of barrels of oil, getting to this. Somethoing to think about.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:49 AM, JDWY13 wrote:

    First off, Mr. Crowe, it would behoove you to use a spell check your articles. Its "Uinta" not Unita" as well as "Wasatch" not "Wasach". Secondly, a geography lesson might do you well too. The Wasatch Mountains are not located in Wyoming nor are almost 98% of the Uinta Mountains. Both these ranges are in Utah. Impressively--you did manage to get the location of the Wind River Range right! Thirdly, I recommend looking into the existing federal registry of existing national forests. You'll see that almost all of the Uinta and Wasatch mountains are inclusively protected as national forest land. I live in one of the communities listed on the above map. My family has generations of experience in the oil fields of this area. Do you really think we, the residents of SW-WYO, are just going to stand down to the prospect of strip mines destroying our landscapes and outdoors? We've already had a preview of this ridiculously idiotic process. Its incredibly destructive to our landscapes. It's emitted pollution's mire our air into something closer to a Los Angeles sky-line of haze. Industry lies about its impact--plays savior at fixing all our energy deficit issues--and my home state suffers. Near the Wind River range, for example, pollution levels of ozone emitted by surrounding natural gas infrastructure gives this area with a population that doesn't come close to surpassing 20,000 people title of having some of the worst air quality in the nation. We need to come to terms with the fact that oil is a FINITE resource and in its decline in availability. Drilling or mining will NOT solve what you believe to be the "cure-all". It's a continuance of an industry exploitation that a public in-denial eats up based upon its own inability to think for themselves. We absolutely NEED to propagate our research into alternative energies if we hope to have any sort of chance avoiding ever-increasing market manipulation of oil prices. We CANNOT drill or mine ourselves out of this problem!

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:53 AM, GREENMM31 wrote:

    Regardless of the amount of oil, energy independence can only be achieved if the material recovered stays in the US domestic wholesale and retail markets. In other words, what comes out of the gas station pump, comes from US based sources, with plenty of reserve waiting in the wings. Shipping a significant amount overseas dose nothing, other than provide more fodder for speculators and other market manipulators.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:04 PM, paulc2013 wrote:

    Nope! Not even close.

    I've been in oil and gas for 35 years as a exploration geophysicist. Articles like this are complete fabrications. What is there and what can be technically extracted are two different things.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:06 PM, Jediman52 wrote:

    Whichever way you look at it the obvious solution for the near and far future is harnessing solar energy. A source that is endless and free, to be used directly or converted to energize projects such the one mentioning here. Let it be to charge electric propulsion of any kind or to heat the underground layers to extract the oil. The best mind and money in the world should invest in increasing the output of captured sun energy for the benefit of everything and everyone.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:10 PM, baumtoo wrote:

    Why can't we just mine it conventionally?

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:20 PM, kodiak598 wrote:

    In my humble opinion the electricity is the easy part of the equation, and water is the only real hangup. A nuclear power plant built near the deposit would produce more zero emissions electricity than needed, and have enough left over to supply the general grid. I would assume to be environmentally compliant a desalination plant with a pipeline to Wyoming would be the only viable answer for water. It's a guess but I assume that would be a HUGE financial task.

    The benefits of almost 2 trillion barrels of oil would make clean electricity and water worth the investment at the point when oil reserves are at "Emergency" levels. It might be a long time in the future but the cost of a nuclear power plant, and desalination plant might be a cheap investment to return 1.5 trillion barrels of oil.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:23 PM, amvet wrote:

    Actually, a lot is known about kerogen. It has been mined and used since 1837 (France). In modern times Brazil, China, Estonia, Russia, and Germany have mined the kerogen containing shale. Kerogen varies but much of it yealds oil when heat treated.

    Bottom line, it is a fuel of last resort.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:26 PM, ckngu wrote:

    Nanoemulsion will be useful to extract kerogen. Try it.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:41 PM, kookie51 wrote:

    "Why can't we use it now". Well, we can't use the oil now because the enemies of America have taken over the EPA and Interior and Whitehouse. I also wonder if our government hasn't used "our oil" as collateral for all the trillions being borrowed.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:53 PM, ThatGuyInTheBack wrote:

    OK, guys. The motley fool reality checks have bounced again. Here are the oil supply details, where the devil lies comfortably.

    First, and let me shout here...OIL SUPPLY DOES NOT EQUAL ENERGY SUPPLY.

    Why? Because it *takes* energy to *get* energy. If you get more energy at the end than you put in, the oil, coal, or gas is worth getting. Those "trillions" of barrels mentioned by the author of this article. Lousy energy return. Expensive to get. Can we get enough useful energy to keep the interdependent system just-in-time supply chains running? Yes, for a little while.

    No meaningful discussion of the energy problem can be had without discussing net energy and price over time. Yes, we have hydrocarbons. So does Jupiter, for all the good it will do us.

    So, sorry to ruin this little happy-talk meme the oil companies are pushing to keep their asset and stock prices up, bonuses high, and their financing flowing, but what we're looking at with fracking and horizontal drilling is a production blip that may last a decade or even two, after which we're right back where we started.

    Natural gas can delay this. Thorium/nuclear plus batteries that don't suck can solve it, if we have the political will to get to both in time.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 12:53 PM, pkumr15 wrote:

    It cost $250 today, in 5 years, the cost will be less to extract 2T Kerogen. Shale oil is now extracted $75 market price.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 1:03 PM, mtnprivy wrote:

    I'd rather have air I can breathe than go after every last drop of fossil fuel, or burnable substance. Our ways of "living" are destroying earth systems in the air, the waters and the land every day. I can give up cars or grocery stores, or the oil furnace, but the air, water and soil keep me alive. Are we so disconnected from our earth that we will kill our planet to maintain our precious "lifestyle?" We form our habits, then they form us.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 1:19 PM, medguy1 wrote:

    We can be "energy independent' TOMORROW. Just STOP EXPORTING. Whatever "Journalist" wrote this should check the facts.This year was the first year The American nation became a net EXPORTER. That means we have enough. Why is this never mentioned? Independence by 2020 about next week. It should be a crime to export when gas is 4.50/Gallon!

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 1:21 PM, GlutenFree wrote:

    Open Letter to Obama Liberals:

    Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks . . . and fast.

    Warren Buffett, (big Obama Donor) who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate. He recently complained of “disappointing performance” in dyed-in-the-wool American companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods.

    In the latest filing for Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has been drastically reducing his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. Berkshire sold roughly 19 million shares of Johnson & Johnson, and reduced his overall stake in “consumer product stocks” by 21%. Berkshire Hathaway also sold its entire stake in California-based computer parts supplier Intel.

    With 70% of the U.S. economy dependent on consumer spending, Buffett’s apparent lack of faith in these companies’ future prospects is worrisome.

    Buffett is/was a HUGE donor to the Obama Machine. Looks like Old Warren is sorry he bet on the Kenyan.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 1:33 PM, RobertLB1 wrote:

    Oil and all fossil fuels are obsolete, but our government refuses to back any new technology that prevents them from collecting billions in tax revenue.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 1:52 PM, ZelphtheGreat wrote:

    Should allow extraction underground - especially in the Wasatch mountains. Why the Wasatch? Because a mountain range whose Indian meaning is "Frozen Penis" deserves to be mined.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 2:02 PM, sandyssanders wrote:

    The oil companies already know that this technique produces less energy than is put in. The Tar Sands are already energy negative. They hide this fact to make a quick buck then disappear after the damage is done and the subsidies and externalized costs are dumped onto the people.

    For everyone's information the IMF just published a paper that reveals that the worldwide fossil fuel industry is subsidized to the tune of $1.9T. every year. That is $316 from every human on Earth, every year.

    Solar, wind and wave come from the sun's energy, is clean and does not run out. This is the very reason why the oil companies have thwarted it at every turn. They own the government that protects their business interests. This neanderthal activity is throwing the entire planet into climate change. Stupid? Greedy? Evil? Yep!

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 2:12 PM, thethreestooges wrote:

    Its true that there are trillions of oil in these rocks. And its the oil that are holding these tiny sands and particles that make it the rocks. One these greedy oil companies start turning these rocks into sands, this country will be like Saudi Arabia sand desert. When the whole earth is became loose sands, the earth will disintegrated and space and we have one less planet in the universe! You cannot reverse the process one started. Be afraid, be very afraid!

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 2:29 PM, DrJCA1 wrote:

    More lying junk. We've been talking about our problems - social security, medicare, poverty, drug abuse, education, and energy production for a half century now. As long as the filth in Washington remain there,and Americans keep up their selfish ways (not everyone NEEDS an SUV or sports car) nothing will get truly fixed. Those in power are going to do what's best for them and not what's best for us.

    There are millions of almost constant sunshine-filled acres in our SW. Why aren't there more solar farms? If we started developing this technology and improved it over the past decade, it would be extremely cheap (the actual source of the energy - the sunv- is free). Same goes for wind farms and the new tech in uranium makes that much safer than ever.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 2:30 PM, crappieurus wrote:

    Please set the record straight. Imported oil allows for a big tax discount, thus this is the reason that oil companies rather sell opec than U. S. oil. It's about the profit margins. Nothing really sinister about making money.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 3:09 PM, rjohnson003 wrote:

    Getting down to it in the Green River basin should be no problem. East of Green River are large Trona mines. They just need to run a longer shaft down from them and set-up a processor. Another boom for Wyoming!

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 3:12 PM, Doogieak wrote:

    Why most of you are ranting and raving that we should use alternative energy over oil...well there isnt one thing you use on a daily basis that wasnt in some way manufactured from a pertoleum base. Im not saying alternative is just saying we do need the oil.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 3:36 PM, ithinkformyself wrote:

    "based on current demand" ... basically makes the claim of being able to meet demand for 250 years completely incorrect and misleading ... unless maybe they believe there will be no growth in related energy consumption in the future. History and current trends tells anyone with half a brain and basic understanding of simple math otherwise.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 3:42 PM, Dadw5boys wrote:

    there is a river of oil under the coal feilds -- much of the oil is not ripe as they call it still needs to cook in the earth

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 3:50 PM, jack1308 wrote:

    oil is usa number 1 export , war had was get off market not on , keep price high

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 4:29 PM, peakignorance wrote:

    This is absolutely hilarious (and extremely sad that people soak up this nonsense). Kerogen has a EROI somewhere between 1:1 and 2:1.

    This is what we think is going to fuel the future of America? Keep polluting the environment, heating the earth for "oil" that is less economically feasible than using fuel from sugarcane? Hell, it's barely better than corn.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 4:31 PM, RobertStuart wrote:

    Recoverable oil from shale deposits used to require the price per barrel to be north of $40.

    Then when that was reached -- a very long time ago -- we started to hear that "green energy" (solar & wind) were just around the corner.

    Then when Canada started mining its oil sands and proposing to use our refining capabilities to its south requiring a pipeline like the millions of miles already used in this country since the last century started we all of a sudden can't do that because of a "threat" to ancient water resources thousands of feet below the proposed pipeline.

    Now we can't use oil/natural gas because what is really needed is fewer dastardly human beings some of whom are heterosexual and some of whom believe in God.

    This country is filled with the dumbest bunch of sillies mankind has ever known and some of them actually have IQs in triple digits.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 5:18 PM, consarestinkers wrote:

    Cons will find a way to squander every last bit of every resource until the planet is dead.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 5:29 PM, rubiconrich wrote:

    My jeep runs on gasoline and/or propane. There are many people that converted their jeeps to propane. Mine also burns natural gas.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 5:47 PM, peterwolf wrote:

    Good things it isn't in California or we'd never be able to get our hands on it. The Democrats in that state would rather see California slide into the ocean before dirtying themselves with anything so sordid as oil exploration.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 6:01 PM, paulc2013 wrote:

    What is missing from the story on biofuels, solar and wind? I'll tell you...CHEAP BTUs. They never tell you how many BTUs are required to farm and distill biofuels. Or how many BTUs are required to mine, manufacture and transport components for a Wind Turbine.

    Do you want to know?

    It takes 1 BTU of energy to recover 15 BTUs of oil and gas.

    It take 3.5 BTUs of energy to make 4 BTUs of biofuel.

    No wonder biofuels are the pollution scourge of the earth.

    Wind Turbines are not economic for a reason.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 6:20 PM, daddywaddy wrote:

    It's about time we use our own oil and stop giving our money away to the Arabs who hate us anyway

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 6:57 PM, jaguar55 wrote:

    Obviously, the guy that did not know what a gigawatt was, wont know what a flux capasitor is either! What is the world comming to?

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 7:17 PM, bugmenot wrote:

    "Why can't we use it now?"

    Ask Obama...

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 7:54 PM, Aprilcomma wrote:

    Saying, "technically recoverable oil" is way too charitable a phrase. It has to be mined in the form of oil shale and tar sands both much more destructive to mine than coal and and minimum would send gas prices to $10 a gallon because of the cost of such extraction and vast energy needed for processing. After all that it is 15% more polluting even out of tail pipe.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 8:22 PM, jvt201 wrote:

    apple has overpriced products and made billions in the banks because of monopoly in usa Jobs can least do is to lower the prices and reduce windfall profits so american customer the world a good chinese tablet,smartphone are available for 200 and 100 dollors respectively!

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 8:41 PM, 7pillars wrote:

    All oil goes onto the world market. Oil under U.S. oil doesn't belong to citizens. Doesn't matter how much America has. It doesn't belong to a collective "us." It belongs to whomever (corporations or individuals) who owns it and whatever it sells for on the world market doesn't affect the price at the pump one bit.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 9:02 PM, guardian2z69 wrote:

    1. they cant put it on the internet if it isnt true right ?

    2. when you post what is opinion and dont back it up with fact its just opinion and clearly an uninformed one

    3 lp or propane is a byproduct of oil /gas production

    4 at any given time it can be more or less expensive than natural gas ( mostly more not less as some on here would suggest

    5 as long as energy is for profit there will be no energy independence for 3 reasons

    1 profit

    2 taxes

    3 we the middle class can simply not afford to pay for it, because we cannot get our govt to stop wasting money and do things that actually work

    we spend billions on wasted programs that do basically nothing , we argue about windmills solar etc ( all the not in my backyard folks who dont want to look at it

    and lastly we deregulated all energy production when what we should have done is regulated it into a non prifit industry and made all new power plants public works projects that then would pay for them selves ( look up the hoover dam)

    actually go get some facts before you post becasue so many of these posts are full of incorrect information it is almost beyond belief that any of you could have actually gone to school and learned how to correctly inform yourselves so you can be a valued member of a discussion that actually contributes rathen than just runs around spouting your opinion or the opinion of some other person or entity that also did not back it up with any actual facts.

    the battery technology to make solar cost effective does not exist as the wear and tear and maintenience costs eventually overwhelm the cost per kw produced( in other words it never lasts long enough to actually meet the projected payback on investment. ( and this is true of almost all of it on any large scale energy savings project the payback estimates are always wrong by 50 to 75 percent.( in other words its all a big lie, driven by someone looking to make a profit)

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 9:25 PM, luckyagain wrote:

    The headline is misleading. No one is "sitting" on this oil. The problem is that no way exists to get the oil out of the rock that is economically feasible. I forget how many years ago that I first read about it.

    An existing technology exists to convert coal to oil that is cheaper. It was used by the Germans during WW II because they needed oil so badly. It was abandoned after the war because other sources of oil is so much cheaper. Currently only oil sand is producing some oil but it is expensive.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:44 PM, dwduke wrote:

    The US will buy oil from all the oil producing nations and then after the foreign oil fields are dry, the US will have the power on the planet to dictate what it wants. This will be the impetus for WWIII.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 11:57 PM, VRSEFgold wrote:

    April Fool!

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 1:08 AM, RMiddlebrookIV wrote:

    It is genius, and articles like this are in poor judgement. We currently buy oil from abroad using our dollar. This puts us at a huge advantage. Anyway if supplies become short their real value increase. In any major war, it is how much gas. Facile individuals like Al Gore mean nothing when every machine is a life saved. Buying others oil the way we do today for consumption while we have massive resources the size of most countries, it is amazing. Way to go Oligarchy, have to compliment their genius there.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 1:52 AM, mikertheriddler wrote:

    In a word, yes. Having been a petrochemical piping designer for over forty years, half of which has been field work in the middle east, the agreement among my peers is that the continental drift up and down the spine of California has to be tapped thereby relieving the pressure and possibility natural leakage along a pristine coastline like Santa Barbara.

    As I write I am currently working in the oil fields of Coalinga assisting in the 'fracking' of oil deep underground re-awakening previously thought of as being dry wells.

    God knows what we have in Alaska! The underground reserves may rival that of the Middle East!

    And shale and sand oil? Don't get me started. There are plans in the works to excavate tens of millions of earth underground to mine and even process the material into crude oil underground.

    So, in answer to your question, yes-the United States has the greatest natural oil and coal reserves on the planet. The only reason we don't exploit this is because we want to exhaust everyone else's before we exhaust our own.

    This is my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 3:16 AM, metou wrote:

    well if the USA oil company come asking to drill on my acres in the west for oil and ofters money the answer will alway be no cause the USA government let the rail road buy all the mineral rights to every place around for like $2 back along time also, probably about the time of John D Rockefeller since it was only $2 for the whole farm and there is no ending date on it, goes forever.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 6:27 AM, freewill2 wrote:

    We have never been dependent on foreign oil! In 1960 the #1 petroleum producing nation was the United States! The US # 1 "export" is gas,diesel and jet fuel,( at least a 1/2 million barrals a day) We should tell our government to stop importing foreign oil and exporting ours!

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 6:43 AM, anniewyers wrote:

    Tesla wrote in his 1916 Patent #1266175 for Lightning Protection "I produced artificial lightning, coupled up to many times that in nature with my Tower, Wardenclyffe" and sent power wirelessly, without loss to any point on the earth. (Tesla Patents 645576, 649621, 685012, 685957, 787412, 1119732)

    "If in a Thunderstorm, the Earth (or my Tower, Wardenclyffe) was struck with Lightning, it creates concentric waves, that slowly circle the planet and come back where they started".

    June 15, 1903 the "New York Sun" wrote:"people living near Tesla’s laboratory at Long Island were the witnesses of a very strange phenomena - multicolored lightning made by Tesla himself, the inflammation of the atmospheric layers at different altitudes and along NY, Night suddenly turned to day. Air was full of luminescence, people radiated a mysterious shine or glow. They seemed to be (as) ghosts. Thunder was heard 25 miles away"

    The Earth, mechanically is hereby a huge “Helmholtz Resonator”, and electrically it is hereby a huge “Cavity Resonator”. Also, as explained by N. Tesla, the “Earth-Ionosphere Condenser” is far too thin to support any wave-guide modes. Only electro-magnetic waves parallel, of magneto-dielectric waves normal, to the surface of the Earth are possible.\

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 8:19 AM, bddog wrote:

    The actual price of extracting a barrel of oil in Arabia is about $2.50. This is why the worlds supply favorably comes from there. All monies after that are sucked up by greedy humans.

    Frances refineries are set up for light crude from the Libya area.

    That is why they headlined the "U. N." attacks on the area recently.

    This is the worlds easiest place to extract oil.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 8:52 AM, Jeffkory wrote:

    Does anyone really think our gov't would use this oil for it's citizens? It will be sold to the highest bidder if it's extracted..CHINA...They already get all our materials which doubled prices for us..WAKE UP PEOPLE..

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 9:21 AM, bddog wrote:

    Exxon owns the Iraqi fields for the next 98 years now.

    There are reparations levied also.

    Do not kid yourselves, this constitutes a huge investment by each and everyone of us.

    War is expensive.

    The people of this country will be paying for war in the middle east for years, if not forever.

    We are vested in Middle east oil.

    Hundreds of thousands of people have died. I would hope it would be about oil and not just genocide. Wow!

    Think about it. Never a more one sided victory in the history of warfare. What do you think it was for?

    The Government owns the majority of the land in many Western States.

    The States should be able to reacquire these lands somehow, and redistribute them.

    By today's standard of law, the Federal Government acquired them illegally, practically through blackmail, as a term for statehood.

    If you put your faith in the U.S.G.S. findings about the resources, then I have a bridge I want to sell you.

    The fact is many Governments existence relies on oil production. They need to obtain a certain price per barrel, just to maintain the status quo.

    Regardless of the price it takes to extract a barrel of oil, they must charge upwards of $150 a barrel just to maintain power. Thus the inflated prices that Exxon and the like love.

    We are paying the same for gas as when the price per barrel was astronomical. Everybody thinks we are stupid and can not see it. Our highest elected officials all are invested in oil and reaping the profits.

    Meanwhile, our economy suffers. Artificially inflated gas prices take a huge toll.

    Diesel fuel costs less to produce than gasoline. It was always much less at the pump.

    These Companies, that have no Country they are loyal to; they overcharge to the point that it hurts economies.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 10:08 AM, Sardir wrote:

    Yes I believe in Mexico gulf is a huge quantity of oil, the macando oil well is closed by BP, that was a big mistake that well was producing almost 100 thousand barrel each day, I had sudjusted to do in collection and not to close not to let oil spared over the water, don't ignite an d make more pollution, they asked me to send a white paper, but later they refused my Ideas, they do apply that idea in oil wells in north sea east of UK.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 11:14 AM, Cyberwolfman wrote:

    So at 15 gallons per ton it sounds more like oil stained rock that's not worth the effort. The best choice for new power would be a thorium power plant. Works much like a nuclear power plant but much safer. I doubt we'll see one until the day the oil/coal industry goes under.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 1:43 PM, mzaz86442 wrote:

    BOZO wants us dependent on foreign oil. He wants to destroy America and bring her down to her knees.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 2:00 PM, heavyoiler wrote:

    More that half the comments here contain misinformation, disinformation and false information.

    There are those who believe the technology will likely never exist to make the recover of oil from the kerogen econonically feasible. It is not economically feasible with oil at $110 per barrel. In fact, the estimates I have seen are oil would need to be at least $130 per barrel, right now, in today's money, to consider a commercially viable operation to recover oil from kerogen. However, the problem is $130 a barrel oil, in today's money would collapse the world economy and cause a world wide depression.

    The price of a barrel of oil can only rise to a certain value, adjusted for inflation, before that value becomes so expensive in relation to all other goods and services that it will cause the collapse of the world economy.

    The cost of extraction oil from the kerogen, barring some yet unknown technology, exceeds what the world economy can afford.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 4:41 PM, bill5153 wrote:

    I always knew we had much oil, this was a plot by the rich people to get richer at the price of the common man/woman/child, and to use the foreign oil up, and conserve our. They will never lower it, no matter how much oil they find

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 4:49 PM, SmartIdiot wrote:

    Doogieak wrote:

    well there isnt one thing you use on a daily basis that wasnt in some way manufactured from a pertoleum base...

    Well, there lies the answer. If oil so precious to us then why are we burning it vehicles most of it is wasted no matter how efficient the motor is...

    In the long history of manknd, there was not OIL for the most part and there will be no OIL for most of the future. So, let us come to terms with the fact.

    We need lot of energy and a bit of oil...

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 4:55 PM, sportychris wrote:

    are there still people out there who really believe we have ever had an energy crisis? our govt politicians have and are still lieing they go in w/good intentions then after a coup[e of wash tubs full of money are droped in there laps they go right along for the ride at our expense.the fact is there is no crisis nor has there ever been one .but what's the best way to win elections scare people into believing it and promising to fix it. but it's been 40 yrs and no fix so please stop screwing us .[it hurts]

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 1:03 PM, mikepriz wrote:

    Every month, I have lunch with a retired Exxon executive. While working for Exxon, he did a study on the feasibility of extracting oil from shale in the Utah, Wyoming and Colorado area. It is very feasible. In fact, there are large foundations of processing plants in the area that were abandon. OPEC had raised prices, but when they saw what the U.S. was doing, they lowered oil prices to make oil shale non-competitive. Now, oil shale is competitive, but environmentalist and our government are stopping its development. When it get to the point of freezing in the dark or developing our resources, maybe things will change. In the meantime, we have sold our souls to countries that hate us. We have funded the terrorist who's goal is to destroy the U.S..

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 1:04 PM, orchardhill wrote:

    I'm surprised how many "drill-baby-drill" Fools there are. Disappointing. Maybe your F is not so capital.

    Extracting this material would destroy one of the most beautiful and amazing places on earth, would be expensive, would continue our dependence on fossil fuels, would continue to accelerate climate change, and on and on.

    I hope it doesn't happen.

    Quality of life has value, too.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 1:26 PM, slimtiger wrote:

    When people talk about America's "energy independence" it's always about oil. But there is no such thing -- oil is a worldwide market. There is only INTERdependence on oil. Sure, oil companies would like to have access to more of our public lands, and they'll whip out the "energy independence" line because it sounds better than "we're greedy." Do you think they are so loyal or patriotic they're going to reserve domestic oil output just for America, or only sell into the U.S. "first" before exporting? It's an open market, it goes to the highest bidder. If consumption goes up in China or India or Europe, the oil flows there and that impacts global supply and prices. The only way to reduce "dependence" on oil is to use less.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 2:08 PM, zzzmotley wrote:

    The world will use up every drop of oil that is hidden in the ground. It's just a matter of time. Global warming or not. The clever people in the world will always be able to find the cheapest source of energy, or the only source of energy they have available. This is what capitalism and the human race is all about.

    There is plenty of solar, wind, oil, propane, natural gas, coal, biomass, and nuclear power in the US for a long, long time. It does not matter if we export oil or not, oil is a global market and the oil companies will find the highest bidder, their stock holders insist they do that; the only way to stop that is to nationalize the oil companies. From a defense standpoint It makes sense to get the cheapest oil first and save the US oil reserves for later. Engineers, scientists and companies will develop better energy creation methods and storage devices and more efficient vehicles as needed to minimize energy costs. I doubt we'll every need the kerogen, but if we do, it can be harvested using solar or wind energy.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 2:11 PM, Goddessofmusic wrote:

    Do you understand that a huge part of ownership of Shell oil belongs to Saudi Arabia?

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 3:45 PM, heavyoiler wrote:

    Informative article, but you seemed to have 'glossed' over the fact that some oil shale experts believe the recovery of oil from the kerogen shale will NEVER be an economically viable proposition.

    I don't believe your figure that that oil at $110 per barrel makes oil shale economically feasible is correct, it's too low. My estimation is oil would need to be at least $130 per barrel at present and oil at that price would likely 'crash' the world economy.

    On the other hand there are oil/tar sand deposits in Eastern Utah which contain an estimated 12 to 30 billion barrels of oil which are economically recoverable at this time( using available technology.

    By way of comparison the Bakken formation deposit in North Dakota and Montana contains(by latest estimate) 6.5 billion barrels of oil.

    Search: Tar Sands or Oil Sands of Utah or Eastern Utah.

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