Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Oil Shale - Introduction
Oil shales ranging from Cambrian to Tertiary in age occur in many parts of the world. Deposits range from small occurrences of little or no economic value to those of enormous size that occupy thousands of square kilometres and contain many billions of barrels of potentially extractable shale oil. Total world resources of shale oil are conservatively estimated at 2.8 trillion barrels (Table 3-1). However, petroleum-based crude oil is cheaper to produce today than shale oil because of the additional costs of mining and extracting the energy from oil shale.
Because of these higher costs, only a few deposits of oil shale are currently being exploited - in Brazil, China, Estonia, Germany and Israel. However, with the continuing decline of petroleum supplies, accompanied by increasing costs of petroleum-based products, oil shale presents opportunities for supplying some of the fossil energy needs of the world in the years ahead.