Eight U.S. companies have filed applications with the federal government to lease land in Colorado for oil-shale development, a sign that oil producers again are ready to gamble some 23 years after the last boom went bust.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the arm of the Interior Department that manages federal lands, has received 10 drilling applications, including three from Shell and one each from Exxon Mobil and Chevron. The companies want to develop technologies to extract oil from shale on 160-acre federal tracts in Rio Blanco County in northwestern Colorado.
The government said it will tread carefully, since it doesn't want to repeat the oil shale boom-and-bust cycles of the 1970s and 1980s that almost devastated the Western Slope's economy.
But with crude oil above $66 a barrel at the close of trading Tuesday, oil shale is a promising alternative to crude. The Green River shale deposits in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are estimated to contain 1.5 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, and while not all of it can be recovered, half that amount is nearly triple the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.
Long term strategic plan for the United States: Get the price of oil up high enough that oil shale competes with Middle East oil. Then put Middle East oil producers out of business, or just let them run out of oil. Oil-funded islamoterror then goes out of business, too, and the Middle East goes back to being an unimportant backwater.