Oil shale, shale oil, shale gas and non-conventional hydrocarbons
WEC World Resources and CESI - Milano, Italy
INFN and Universit`a degli Studi - Milano, Italy
(*) Chair of the WEC Study Group on “Global Energy Resources and Technologies” and Senior Advisor CESI.
(**) Member of the EPS Energy Group.
Published online: 27 August 2015
In recent years there has been a world “revolution” in the field of unconventional hydrocarbon reserves, which goes by the name of “shale gas”, gas contained inside clay sediments micropores. Shale gas finds particular development in the United States, which are now independent of imports and see a price reduction to less than one third of that in Europe. With the high oil prices, in addition to the non-conventional gas also “oil shales” (fine-grained sedimentary rocks that contain a large amount of organic material to be used both to be directly burned or to extract liquid fuels which go under the name of shale oil), extra heavy oils and bitumen are becoming an industrial reality. Both unconventional gas and oil reserves far exceed in the world the conventional oil and gas reserves, subverting the theory of fossil fuels scarcity. Values and location of these new fossil reserves in different countries and their production by comparison with conventional resources are presented. In view of the clear advantages of unconventional fossil resources, the potential environmental risks associated with their extraction and processing are also highlighted.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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