Does anyone know why oil sands and oil shale are not used as alternatives to crude oil?

I have read many articles stating how if oil was over 0 a barrel it would be cheaper for to extract either. In particular, I have an understanding that if these resources were tapped, both in North America, the United States would have more oil than three times Saudia Arabia. I am just confused as why this is not an issue that is brought up more often and why it is not a possible solution to our oil problem which is crippling our economy. Thank you for your time.

4 Responses to “Does anyone know why oil sands and oil shale are not used as alternatives to crude oil?”

  1. tigergeek16 Says:

    Shale oil can as of present only be used to make low grade gasoline and is very expensive to refine. The estimated cost is projected at $80 a barrel, while "sweet crude oil" recovered from traditional oil wells costs less than $10 a barrel, and can easily be refined into thousands of products from plastics to high grade gasoline. World oil reserves are too abundant to make shale oil economical anytime in the next century.
    There’s hundreds of billions of barrels of sweet crude in the contiguous 48 states alone. Plenty in Texas, Colorado, the Dakotas, etc. The issue driving our economy isn’t lack of resources t recover, but rather the scarcity being caused by energy futures and other markets. That’s not all a bad thing, however, since it seems to be the only way to get the United States to stop consuming so much fossil fuel.
    Another thing: consumers are becoming more environmentally aware, and we’re moving away from fossils to fuel our cars.

    If you want to talk about this more send me an Email.

  2. wilrycar Says:

    the oil shale and oil sand are difficult to get out of the ground. once it is out of the ground it is not cost effective to squeeze the oil out of the rocks.

  3. Smudgeward Says:

    The infrastructure isn’t in place and if we developed it the price of oil would simply drop down to the level that makes shale/jungle/deep water/S. & N. Pole/arctic production uneconomic. This is the big problem of having a one world market economy, short term profits take priority, gambling takes the place of planning. Flip side, it is often more accurate anyway..

  4. John Dillinger Says:

    Oil sands are used as an alternative to conventional crude (see Alberta) but it is much more expensive to mine oil than to simply put a tube into the ground and suck the oil out.

    Shale oils are even more expensive to extract.

    With both Tarsand and Oilshale the oils are almost impossible to extract with drilling and the cost of extracting the oil soon reaches the point of no vanishing returns.

    I mean it gets to costing a barrel of oil to get a barrel of oil back, It is better to think of the cost in terms of oilk in this case than in terms of dollars.
    Oil drilling used to return almost 40 barrels of oil for each barrel of oil spent exploring, extracting and refining.
    Now it returns only about 4 to 1.