It is rightly said,” We’ve embarked on the beginning of the last days of the age of conventional oil & gas”. With the conventional and easy oil & gas being depleted, the industry is looking for unconventional sources of energy to meet the rising global energy demand. Oil shale is one such source of oil that can be looked upon in the near future. Oil shale is a fine grained sedimentary rock formed from the compaction of organic rich sediments deposited millions of years ago transforming the sediments into kerogen (precursor to the formation of hydrocarbons) under a substantial amount of heat and pressure. The heat and pressure was not enough to convert kerogen into hydrocarbons. Almost 70% of the explored oil shale reserves have been found in the United States with much of the reserves yet to be discovered around the globe.

As of now, it is estimated that that extracting shale oil from oil shale has proven to be more expensive than the production of conventional crude oil. The total world resources of oil shale in 2016 are estimated to be equivalent to 6.05 trillion barrels of crude oil in place.

By geology, the oil shale reserves can be categorized into three groups.

  • Terrestrial
  • Lacustrine
  • Marine

The extraction and production of hydrocarbons from the oil shale involves the following steps:

  • Mining: This process step was important long time ago when In-situ retorting technique was not developed. This step involves cutting the oil shale rock from the sub-surface and bring the sample to the surface for further retorting processes to produce hydrocarbons. The mining process can be underground mining or surface mining.
  • Retorting: This process is a cracking process that involves heating of oil shale rock to an adequate temperature such that the kerogen trapped in the rock transforms into recoverable hydrocarbons such as in conventional sedimentary formations. The retorting process can be of two types:
    • Surface Retorting/Ex-situ Retorting: The oil shale sample rock after mining is taken to the surface and is heated in vessels known as retort. After retorting the oil is further processed to send it to the refinery and the spent shale is disposed off. The ex-situ retorting process can be implemented via fushun process, kiviter process, galoter retort, paraho process or petrosix technology.
    • In-situ Retorting: This technology is a developing technology and involves heating underground oil shale reserves without mining using electric heaters placed in vertically drilled holes such that hydrocarbons are generated from the reserves. The in-situ retorting process can be implemented via Shell’s in-situ conversion process, Exxon Mobil’s Electrofrac TM technique, convection heating technology, etc.

The global oil shale reserves have the potential to supply approximately three times the conventional crude oil reserves. Many retorting techniques are well established and used successfully in the market. The global oil shale market is estimated to be valued at XX million USD in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of XX % during the forecast period of 2018-2028.

The global rising demand of energy, the depletion of conventional reserves at a rapid rate, the transition from conventional to unconventional sources of energy, etc. are several factors to drive the oil shale market. In contrast, the high processing cost of oil shale, large utilization of resources for mining of oil shale with associated environmental concerns, volatile crude oil prices are some of the factors that have kept the companies to invest in the oil shale market. Several growth opportunities lie in the oil shale market which includes the development of oil shale techniques to cause less environmental concerns, cut down processing costs to increase the overall revenue and many more.

The profiles and the comprehensive operational study of various key players in Oil Shale market like American Shale Oil, General Synfuels International, Oil Shale Exploration Company, Central Pacific Minerals, BP, Harbin Coal Chemical Company, Japan Oil, Baraka Energy & Resources, Ambre energy, Gas & Metals National Corp (JOGMEC), Chevron Shale Oil Company, Independent Energy Partners (IEP), Queensland Shale Oil Limited, Israel Chemicals Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell, etc. have been well analysed and included in the report.

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By Geology

  • Terrestrial
  • Lacustrine
  • Marine

By Technology

  • Ex-situ Retorting
  • In-situ retorting

By Geography

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • South & Central America
  • Middle East & Africa
  • Rest of the World (ROW)
  • Market overview and forecasting covering Optimistic, Realistic and Pessimistic scenarios (2018-2028)
  • Analysis and study of various services provided by major players active in the Oil Shale market
  • Market segmentation based on Geology, Technology & Geography
  • Detailed coverage of technology and services involved
  • Technical comparative studies and case analysis
  • Competitive landscape with in depth analysis of the market players’ strategy
  • Infraline’s Techno Managerial edge covering SWOT, TOWS, Porter’s five forces and PESTLE analysis

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