What is Shale Oil?



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    Shale oil is oil (conventional, liquid oil) that comes from a formation that is largely shale. An example is the Bakken formation of North Dakota. The oil is in small pores that are poorly interconnected and difficult to extract. While expensive, this oil is most definitely produced and has propelled North Dakota into the #5 position in terms of states producing oil in the US.

    Shale oil is NOT the same as oil shale. The latter is a rock that has a lot of bitumen in it in solid form. Examples occur especially in western Colorado (the Piceance Creek Basin) – none of that oil is currently produced nor is it producible economically at present. The answers in the link address the question of oil shale – mistakenly equated with shale oil.


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