Dolan Media Pre-Christmas Rush

Before you break out your favorite Christmas movies, here’s a delectable selection of news morsels from around Dolan Media….

green-river-formation.jpgShell Oil Company wants to extract oil from the Green River Formation, which contains one of the largest oil shale deposits in the world. According to the Colorado Springs Business Journal’s Amy Gillentine, the government’s permitting process runs on a different track than Shell’s research on how to squeeze the goo from the rocks.

Shell submitted the application a year ago, but withdrew it when the company realized that research was going to lead in another direction, said Tracy Boyd, spokesman for the Mahogany Project, the name for the oil shale research work being conducted on 17 acres in the Colorado back country near Rifle.

“But that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped anything,” he said. “It’s a delay, but other things are going on at the site. We’ve finished building the freeze wall test and it’s 100 percent online now. They’re working on heating tests elsewhere on the site.”

The next step, which requires combining both the freezing and heating elements into one big test to see if Shell can really wring oil from the rocks, is causing the delay.

“It takes about a year to process the application, and things in this research are changing so fast that knowing exactly what you want to do in a year is difficult,” Boyd said. “We’re learning a lot more all the time. We’ll resubmit the application a year or so down the road when we have better information to know exactly what kind of integrated test we want to do.”

Shell, which has secured 200 patents for oil-shale extraction technology, is the only oil firm working this problem on such a massive scale. As one might expect, the whole shale-oil enterprise has its critics and skeptics.

“Despite a century of trying, and $10 billion in investment, oil shale currently provides an infinitesimal .0001 percent of world energy,” said Randy Udall, director of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency in Aspen. “The technology is incredible — incredible in an insane way, incredible in a fantastic way, maybe both.”

Other analysts say that the fiasco of the 1970s and 1980s — when oil companies abruptly pulled out of the Rifle region and oil shale exploration, leaving thousands of people unemployed — means that investors should be cautious when viewing shale as the solution to the country’s energy woes.

“That history raises a feasibility issue,” said Dan Hattrup, an instructor in economics and finance at Regis University who is researching alternative energies as his Ph.D. thesis. “Looking at the new technology, however, it seems to be cost-effective. I’ve seen some estimates that say it can be effective even if oil is at $30 a barrel.”

But Hattrup also says the environmental costs will be much higher, with potential risk to groundwater the biggest concern….

Doesn’t every new governor (or president for that matter) promise the bar associations he or she will fill judicial vacancies faster than the last governor? And doesn’t every governor disappoint? That’s what’s happening with Gov. Deval Patrick in Massachusetts, according to Mass Lawyers Weekly‘s Barbara Rabinovitz. The furor over a current judge’s release of a convicted killer who killed again will probably slow things down more, Rabinovitz explains….

More fallout from Oklahoma’s ice storm: Funeral homes having to improvise, survivors distraught. The story by the Journal Record’s Brian Bus is here….

Lawyers take everything so seriously, including shopping for Christmas toys. Wisconsin Law Journal blogger Bev Butula says parents’ first stop should be the Consumer Product Safety Commission. I wonder if they pipe in songs from “Ralph Nader: Home for the Holidays” while you’re on hold….

Who do you think gets the edge when Sean Hannity, Tim Russert and James Carville come to the Long Island Association’s annual meeting next February (as reported by LI Biz Blog)?

Well, Carville and Russert worked for Democrats, so they have the numerical advantage. But as anyone knows who’s heard Hannity’s braying voice, the Fox News and talk radio star is a Long Islander through and through. He was born in New York City, but went to Catholic prep school in Uniondale….

In this crowd, Louisianan Carville might need a translator…. And everyone knows Russert is a New Yorker…a Buffalo, New Yorker…. Buffalo is a lot closer to Cleveland than it is to Nassau County….

(photo by Kevin Delaney)

Explore posts in the same categories: Dolan Media, Energy, Environment, Law, Retail, U.S. Government, weather

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

One Comment on “Dolan Media Pre-Christmas Rush”

  1. Sage Says:

    This is an interesting accounts of the business of oil shale extraction

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: