What is shale oil ?

Photo What is shale oil ?

Shale oil has been controversial because of the environmental risks associated with its exploitation. Nevertheless, unconventional hydrocarbons are as indispensable as conventional hydrocarbons. For that matter, what is shale oil?

What is shale oil comprised?

In general, hydrocarbons are the result of the transformation of organic matter buried in the subsoil under layers of sediment. Plankton and algae are subjected to high temperatures and pressures and are progressively transformed into oil. Then, oil migrates from the bed rocks to porous rocks. Thus, the hydrocarbons trapped in these rocks represent conventional reservoirs that are easy to exploit.

However, some hydrocarbons stay in the bed rocks or low porous rocks. In this case they are unconventional reservoirs. Nevertheless, their chemical formula and purpose are similar to so-called conventional hydrocarbons. On the other hand, oil shale is the result of an inauspicious transformation of organic matter due to adverse conditions. In this case, the rocks are recovered and cooked to finalize the formation of the oil. However, these procedures are expensive.

Where is the shale oil located ?

Shale oil reserves have been identified around the world, including Russia, China, Argentina and Libya. In addition, other countries, including the United States, Canada, Syria, the Persian Gulf, Australia and Mexico also have significant reserves of unconventional hydrocarbons.

In addition, more than 4,000 new wells have been installed in these countries. This number is even higher than the number of existing conventional oil wells. In addition, French soil also has considerable reserves of shale oil since the nineteenth century. These reserves then spread to Scotland and Germany. The main unconventional oils in France are today in the Paris basin. These reserves are 2 billion barrels extracted over 30 years, or 13% of oil consumption in France. Moreover, the profit of its exploitation is estimated between 37 and 70 billion euros.

What procedures should be followed for the extraction of shale oil ?

The procedures are aimed at extracting the rock in which the shale oil is trapped. In order to drill the rock, a large injection of water and high-pressure chemicals are required. Then, to transform the oil shale, it is heated to 500 ┬░ C in a place devoid of oxygen. Thus, these procedures favor the transformation of kerogen into oil and shale gas.

On the other hand, unconventional oil offers the same use as conventional oil. Nevertheless, the latter is still privileged because of its ease of extraction. Indeed, the oil companies, in this case HBS International, under the direction of a businessman from Tunisia, Tarek Bouchamaoui, still rely on conventional oil. However, director Tarek Bouchamaoui is opening up other perspectives for the future, especially renewable energies. Tunisia is also opening up to these new solutions.