Unlock The Energy: Green River Formation Has More Recoverable Oil Than The Rest Of The World…Combined

Rock Springs, Wyoming

Over and over again, we have posted about how opening up energy exploration and production in the US could have an immediate “shock” effect on the economy because hydrocarbon based energy touches all strata of the economy and does so all at once. Cheaper fuel leads to cheaper production costs of products, immediately has an impact on personal income and strengthens the balance sheet of all companies by lowering overall costs to do business. It also immediately increases employment in the E&P (exploration and production) and EPIC (engineering, procurement, installation and construction) sectors of the oil patch. Good, high paying jobs that could be created at the cost of a signature.

President Obama claims to be presiding over the greatest increase in hydrocarbon production EVAH – and to be fair, natural gas production is up substantially…but as Steve Maley at RedState points out, the boom is 1) on private land and 2) started well before The One took office (so I guess this is Bush’s fault as well, huh?):

Much of the ramp-up in production is in the shale gas plays: the Barnett of Texas, the Haynesville of Louisiana, the Woodford of Oklahoma, the Fayetteville of Arkansas, the Marcellus of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the Eagleford of Texas. All of them are on private, not Federal lands, and under the jurisdiction of state, not Federal, regulatory bodies.

With all of these massive on-shore finds, what has happened to the price of natural gas?  They have fallen to the lowest level in the past 10 years.

Mr. Supply…meet Miss Demand. What do you know, when supply exceeds demand, the market compensates by lowering price to encourage more consumption…and the government didn’t even have to spend a trillion or two of taxpayer’s money to make it happen.

The common refrain from government is that we only have 2% of the world’s oil reserves, so what do you expect a Lightworker to do, conjure up a miracle?

Except that isn’t quite true, now is it Mr. President? At least according to the GAO (via CNS News):

The Green River Formation, a largely vacant area of mostly federal land that covers the territory where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined, an auditor from the Government Accountability Office told Congress on Thursday.

The GAO testimony said that the federal government was in “a unique position to influence the development of oil shale” because the Green River deposits were mostly beneath federal land.

It also noted that developing the oil would have an environmental impact and pose “socioeconomic challenges,” that included bringing “a sizable influx of workers who along with their families put additional stress on local infrastructure” and “making planning for growth difficult for local governments.”

“The Green River Formation–an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming–contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale,”Anu K. Mittal, the GAO’s director of natural resources and environment said in written testimony submitted to the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

“USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions,” Mittal testified.

“The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered,” Mittal told the subcommittee. “At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.”

We don’t need a miracle, we need a common sense energy policy.

I know that area well. Evanston, Wyoming sits directly on top of it. It is on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains (the only mountain range in the US that runs east and west), is about 60 miles from my adopted hometown of Park City, Utah to the west and 200 miles to Rawlins, Wyoming to the east, Sinclair Oil has a major refinery just east of Rawlins. There are three in Salt Lake: Tesoro, Big West Oil and Sinclair Oil all have operations there.

Point being, if we can get it out of the ground, the resources are there to refine it and get it to market quickly.

The question remains: will we have to political will to open up areas like the Green River formation, ANWR and other reserves that sit under government land?

Mitt Romney will.

10 thoughts on “Unlock The Energy: Green River Formation Has More Recoverable Oil Than The Rest Of The World…Combined

  1. Great write-up, Utah.
    Was actually reading about this last night. One of the commenters pointed out that, with an average output of 20 million barrels a day, 50% of the recoverable oil (or 1.5 trillion barrels) would only last about ….
    …..205 YEARS.

    Gee, I don’t know. It hardly seems worth it.

  2. With that, we have all the proof that we need that the green energy movement is a front for the communist agenda in America: it is an attack on capitalism – nothing more.

  3. Pingback: Unlock the Energy and Unlock the Economy Part 5,000,000 | The Rio Norte Line

  4. I am not very educated in oil but I do have some questions maybe some of you can help me with. Near the end of Pres. Bushes term there were meetings between him and the oil companies. Congress and Pres. Bush came out and said it was time for Americans to be paying more for oil because Europe has been paying more then us for a long time. Then Mr. “EXON” got on tv and expressed concern that they (The oil companies) “would not be making this money forever.” (What??) Can someone please explain what went on there? Then, after that gas seemed to go up and it seems the oil companies started making record profits. I don’t know how much recoverable oil there is in a barrel or how much oil is from here in the US (from the way it sounds no one else does either). But I do know what I saw happening back then seemed wrong. Maybe someone can help shed some light on what was happening then because as it stands now I have a nasty taste in my mouth from that whole thing.

    • Pretty much everything you said is wrong, so you are either sadly misinformed or a troll – but I’ll take the bait either way.

      Bush and his administration never said that, that was Obama and his Energy Secretary, Steven Chu. Bush didn’t meet with the oil companies at the end of his term and prices magically went up. Oil price per barrel started up after the recession started due to cuts in production and the Macondo well blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico. The spiked in Bush’s last year but were back down before Obama took over – there has been a steady rise under him and the prices have remained higher for longer than under any other president.

      Rex Tillerson was talking about the 1980’s when oil had dropped to $18-20 a barrel and the industry collapsed. The Houston economy completely collapsed – I have a friend who bought a 1.6 million dollar home (pre-bust) in Houston for $185,000 (post-bust).

      Critics of the oil companies love to rant about the oil company profits but to drill a well offshore costs between 160-200 million dollars and if it is dry, it still costs the same -there are huge risks in the business. Our government makes billions on oil leases on federal land and they take a huge share of the profits in taxes. Since you mentioned Exxon, would it surprise you to know that in the past 3 financial years, Exxon paid roughly 68 billion dollars in federal taxes? They also employ over 82,000 people.

      Compare this to Obama’s favorite company, GE, a company with 14.2 billion in revenue and paid no taxes.

      A 42 gallon barrel of oil makes about 19.5 gallons of gas, the rest is separated in to heating oil, diesel and other lubricants – there is almost no waste – the rest that can’t be used as fuel goes into emulsions – like tar and asphalt.


      Oil companies make about 6.2 cents per dollar of product. On a gallon of gas at $3.00, that equates to about 18.6 cents per gallon – the federal gas tax is a flat 18.4 cents per gallon and various states also tax fuel, so governments in the US make more money on a gallon of gas than the companies who produce it.

      If oil is in a barrel, it is recovered. Reserves are estimated a number of ways, so there are quite a few different estimates.

    • Judith, Utah has written very many fine articles on this. I wish I had the computer saavy to pull them up for you, but I don’t. Please go to the search button and type in whatever you seek…..When you find it, I think you’ll dig it. 😉

  5. A couple of days ago, my son had 6-7 friends over who are all going to college in a month. I showed them your post on Jobs. And said guys, if you want a job when you graduate in 4 years, here it is…….
    A couple of them go, great, I’m getting an engineering degree….

  6. Pingback: With ABC’s Precious Securely Re-Elected, It Is Now Safe To Report A Massive Oil Find [that we reported in May] | The Rio Norte Line

Leave a Reply to Judith Finley Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.