Steve Utter


Energy is one of our basic natural resources. Oil constitutes an important part of this resource but domestic production is dropping while imports are rising. Today, oil represents about one-half of the total energy consumed in this country, and demand is expected to grow at the rate of about 2 percent per year during the next 10 years. Increased reliance on imports can be reduced by synthetic fuels produced from the oil shale deposits of the Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. These deposits are so enormous (600 billion barrels in high- grade shale alone), that any limitations on production are set by economic, environmental, political, or technological constraints.

According to the Project Independence Blueprint, a shale oil production of 1,000,000 barrels per day could be attained by the year 1985. This would meet the goal established by President Ford in his recent State-of-the- Union Message.

This paper outlines the work that the Bureau of Mines is doing in oil shale mining research to further this goal. It describes the results of our first year's contract research program, and our plans for the future. Oil shale research is part of the Bureau's overall Advancing Mining Technology Program. The objectives of our program are to develop, test, and demonstrate improved low-cost mining and waste management methods and equipment that are capable of producing the large tonnages of oil shale and shale oil needed by the 1 980's. Oil shale and associated minerals must be mined safely and economically, using methods that will allow maximum recovery of the mineral resource with acceptable environmental impact. The immediate objectives of the program are to assess the technical and economic feasibility of various surface and underground mining methods and of modified in situ extraction systems, evaluate the mineral resources, and determine the environmental impacts of an oil shale mining industry.

Meeting Name

2nd Annual UMR-MEC Conference on Energy (1975: Oct. 7-9, Rolla, MO)

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings


Energy Resources - Mining and Petroleum

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1976 University of Missouri--Rolla, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

09 Oct 1975