Massive U.S. Oil Reserves ‘Locked Up’ on Federal Lands

Insider Report from
May 20, 2012

Massive U.S. Oil Reserves ‘Locked Up’ on Federal Lands

The Green River Formation, a largely vacant area where Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined, the Government Accountability Office reports. Most of the oil is beneath federal land overseen by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, but the government has “locked up” development of the huge resource, critics charge.

Anu K. Mittal, the GAO’s director of natural resources and environment, said in written testimony submitted to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment: “The Green River Formation — an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming — contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale.“

“USGS [US Geological Survey] estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions.
“The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered. At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.”
For purposes of comparison, the entire Middle East is estimated to have less than 700 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Mittal also stated: “Being able to tap this vast amount of oil locked within this formation will go a long way to help to meet our future demands for oil.“ “As you can imagine, having the technology to develop this vast energy resource will lead to a number of important socioeconomic benefits including the creation of jobs, increases in wealth, and increases in tax and royalty payments for federal and state governments.” She added that the federal government therefore is in “a unique position to influence the development of oil shale,” according to GAO testimony.

But in testimony that the Obama administration could seize upon to rebuff calls for development of the oil shale, which environmentalists generally oppose, Mittal also noted: “While large-scale oil-shale development offers socioeconomic opportunities, it also poses certain socioeconomic challenges that also should not be overlooked.
“Oil shale development like other extractive industries can bring a sizable influx of workers who along with their families put additional stresses on local infrastructure.

“Developing oil shale and providing power for oil shale operations and other activities will require large amounts of water and could have significant impacts on the quality and quantity of surface and groundwater resources. “Oil shale operations will also require the clearing of large surface areas of topsoil and vegetation which can affect wildlife habitat, and the withdrawal of large quantities of surface water which could also negatively impact aquatic life.”

However, Investor’s Business Daily observes that the GAO testimony is exploding the Big Lie pushed by President Obama that we can’t drill our way out of high gas prices because we have but 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. Just one small part of the US is capable of outproducing the rest of the planet.
“Given that current US daily oil consumption is running at 19.5 million barrels, the staggering amount of Green River reserves would by itself supply domestic oil consumption for more than 200 years.

“So why are we keeping it locked up on federal lands?”



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