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http://ww2.scripps.com/cgi-bin/archives/denver.pl?DBLIST=rm05&DOCNUM=20000

Profitable at $30 a barrel. 3.5 to 1 recovery to energy input ratio.

Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock. Drop heaters down the shaft. Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off, the lightest and most desirable first. Collect them.

Please note, you don't have to go looking for oil fields when you're brewing your own.

On one small test plot about 20 feet by 35 feet, on land Shell owns, they started heating the rock in early 2004. "Product" - about one-third natural gas, two-thirds light crude - began to appear in September 2004. They turned the heaters off about a month ago, after harvesting about 1,500 barrels of oil.


And they've solved the environmental problem: build an ice wall around the hole (or a honeycomb of them for multiple holes). What's more? No popcorn problem.

Most of the best territory for this astonishing process is on land under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. Shell has applied for a research and development lease on 160 acres of BLM land, which could be approved by February. That project would be on a large enough scale so design of a commercial facility could begin.

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