2013-02-5

“It’s disappointing to see Rep. Whitfield and House Republicans recycling the same old failed energy ideas. Despite being awarded billions in taxpayer funds, all these oil shale speculators have to show is failure. We need real energy solutions, not more speculation and failed investments,” said Ellynne Bannon, western lands program manager for the Checks and Balances Project.

Key Facts

  • The Obama Administration has moved forward with new research and development leases for oil shale on public lands. In November 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized two new oil shale research, demonstration, and development leases to ExxonMobil and Natural Soda.
  • Oil shale is not oil. It is a rock that has to be heated to 700 degrees or more over months, or even years, in order to be processed into oil. Taxpayer dollars have already funded $3.2 billion dollars in loan guarantees and $3.7 billion in price guarantees to oil companies for oil shale with nothing to show for it except failed projects.
  • Some oil shale advocates like to point to the nation of Estonia as proof that oil shale can be a viable energy source. Unfortunately, Estonia isn’t saying the same thing about U.S. oil shale.  The CEO of Eesti Energia, Enefit’s parent company, a world leader in oil shale development has acknowledged that oil shale isn’t profitable and that “we have time” to wait and “we will not make any real investments” in the U.S. until the oil shale industry in Estonia is at a “new level.”
  • Just last month Enefit, a company trying to produce oil shale in Utah, came under fire from a key investor – the Estonian government – when it was revealed that the company could lose up to $100 million dollars on their project in Utah. It was also reported that Enefit’s Utah project has proven to be “unexpectedly difficult to do, and that tests indicate that Utah oil shale requires more energy to break down than expected, resulting in higher carbon dioxide emissions.