Companies join forces on oil shale

One of the companies working on research-and-development oil shale leases in northwest Colorado will work with an international oil-field services company to characterize the lease.

American Shale Oil entered into a technical cooperation agreement with Schlumberger Technology Corp.

American Shale will supply Schlumberger’s research subsidiary, Schlumberger-Doll Research, with core samples from AMSO’s lease site. Schlumberger will analyze the samples to develop improved methods to estimate rock properties, American Shale said in a press release.

American Shale, a subsidiary of IDT Corp., is one of three companies that hold 160-acre research-and-development leases on shale-rich lands in Colorado’s Piceance Basin.

Once those companies demonstrate they can produce petroleum in an environmentally acceptable fashion, they are eligible to acquire 5,120-acre leases.

Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey suggest that American Shale’s commercial lease preference could contain 10 billion barrels of petroleum, about half of which could be recoverable, said Dr. Alan K. Burnham, American Shale’s chief technology officer.

“Jointly with Schlumberger, we will comprehensively characterize the details of the oil shale at our site,” Burnham said. “This will help AMSO design the most environmentally friendly and effective extraction process.”

The agreement provides the independent oil shale research and development company “with broader technical expertise that complements our very fine in-house technical team,” American Shale President Claude Pupkin said.

The agreement also moves Schlumberger a step closer to oil shale.

The company earlier this year acquired microwave technology from Raytheon Corp. that could be used to boil petroleum from the rock of the Green River Formation of western Colorado, eastern Utah and southwest Wyoming.

The formation is estimated to contain the equivalent of 1 trillion to 2 trillion barrels of crude oil.

IDT Corp. (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C) is a multinational holding company with subsidiaries in several industries.


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