The Government Accountability Office (GAO) - an Orwellian name for a federal governmental agency if there ever was one - reports vast reserves of recoverable shale oil lie trapped in the Green River Formation in several western states. This report address recoverable oil reserves and NOT recoverable natural gas reserves, something I wrote about here last summer in a post titled Shale Gas - An Introduction - where I discussed the US Energy Information Agency's global report on shale gas that identified 6.6 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas in shale formations in 32 countries.
The Green River Formation includes natural gas, but the GAO's report deals with the oil and not the gas. The economics of extracting oil - currently trading at $95 (WTI) to $110 (Brent) - are significantly different than the economics of extracting natural gas - currently priced at approximately $2.50 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) - and the US has a golden opportunity to leverage these resources to our advantage and drag the economy out of the doldrums.
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.
“While large-scale oil-shale development offers socioeconomic opportunities it also poses certain socioeconomic challenges that also should not be overlooked,” she testified. “Oil shale development like other extractive industries can bring a sizable influx of workers who along with their families put additional stressed on local infrastructure. Development from expansion of extractive industries has historically followed a boom-and-bust cycle making planning for growth difficult for local governments.”Everywhere oil and gas companies are extracting these resources opportunities exist for advocates of sustainable development to positively influence the processes. As noted by the GAO the boom cycle puts significant pressure on local infrastructure, but this should be viewed as an opportunity.
The need for such communities - as well as state and federal governments - to modernize their procurement programs is even more pressing in regions where these oil and gas booms are impacting local infrastructure. Collaborative Construction's Integrated Procurement Program can be tailored to address the needs of such communities. If any readers are involved in projects impacting such communities I'd love to hear from you.
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