There has been so much written and there have been so many addresses and technical presentations on oil shale given at various meetings during the last few months that it is difficult to present anything new. Even to summarize the history, the current status, the problems, and the potential of the industry would require much more time than we have today. So about all I can hope to do is to present some of the highlights, knowing that some of these will be a repetition for many of you, but hoping that I can give you members of the mining industry a perspective of what the oil shale industry is today and where it will probably be tomorrow.
For us who have spent our professional lives in the mining industry, oil shale is unique. We know where it is; we don't have to hunt for it. It is measured in hundreds of feet of thickness, in thousands of square miles of area, and in billions of barrels of oil content. The problems are technological and legal. How will be the best way to mine the shale? How will be the best way to extract the oil? Where will it be marketed? What will it cost? What will be the leasing and tax policies of both the State and Federal governments?
One of the many questions asked today is why do we need shale oil? With a large portion of our domestic crude production restricted, and with limitations on imports from large foreign sources, won't we have all the conventional petroleum required? The answers to these questions are more questions. Can we afford to be dependent upon foreign supplies? Are our domestic reserves sufficient for our expanding needs? Will the cost of finding new reserves eventually exceed the cost of producing shale oil?
Recently, Assistant Secretary of the Interior John Kelly quoted President Johnson as follows: ". . . In the remainder of this century urban population will double, city land will double, and we will have to build homes, highways, and facilities equal to all those-built since this country was first settled. So in the next 40 years, we must rebuild the entire urban United States."
If this is true, a tremendous increase in sources of energy will, of course, be required. With our present reserves of petroleum and coal, and atomic energy being rapidly developed, no shortage is anticipated.