Monday, September 24, 2012

Oil Resources in USA

So why are we so heavily dependant on foreign oil resources? We have enough in this country to be totally independent of foreign sources. We also have all of the metals in this country we would ever need, but most have become inaccessible due to government programs. So who does our government work for anyway?  US citizens, or special interests to the obama administration and to congress?

Reported Saudi Arabia oil reserves are about 267 billion barrels. Yet, the Utah Geological Survey recently reported that oil shale resources in the Uintah Basin of Utah alone are about 300 billion barrels (T.C. Chidsey, Jr., 2012, Oil Shale vs Shale Oil: Survey Notes, v. 44, no. 3).

In the Williston Basin of North Dakota, the USGS estimated recoverable oil resources with 2007 technology and prices at 3 to 4.3 billion barrels from the Bakken Formation. However, when Obama was elected, gas prices were $1.61/gallon on average; today, they are set at nearly $4/gallon, which would provide a substantial increase in the resource estimate in this field.

It is interesting to note that there are sources that indicate using today's technology, that as much as 24 billion barrels of oil may be recoverable. But, when we look at other USGS estimates (prior to when the agency became so environmentally oriented during the Clinton administration) what is really notable was a group of USGS research papers. One of these by the USGS (1999), Leigh Price estimated the Bakken Shale contained a resource from 271 billion to 503 billion barrels of oil!

In the Colorado-Utah,-Wyoming region, there are giant oil shale resources in the '3-corners' region that are found in the Green River Basin, Washakie Basin, Uintah Basin and Pieance Basin. These may be the richest oil shale deposits in the world. Many projections indicate that 600 to 800 billion barrels of oil can be recovered from this area. In 2009, the USGS reassessed the oil share reserves raising their estimate by one trillion barrels! In other words, there is likely 1.525 trillion barrels of oil in this region not being developed.

The Prudhoe Bay of Alaska is a significant oil field. Estimates indicate that this field contains at least 25 billion barrels of oil. Other estimates suggest the deposit holds 36 billion barrels of oil and 137 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Mid-Continent Oil Province also contains sizable resources. For example, a part of this province in Texas was estimated to host 190 billion barrels of oil. This province extends into Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Outer Continental shelf of the US is estimated to host about 66 to 115 billion barrels of oil.

In Canada, oil sands and tar sands in the Athabasca Basin contain as much as 1.75 trillion barrels. World Oil Shale reserves are impressive. And as any good prospector knows, that once a field is explored and developed, the resource estimates also rise as new deposits are found.