Energy policy — oil shale: Anadarko and General Synfuels kick off pilot project near Rock Springs, Wyoming

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From the Casper Star-Tribune:

…it’s going to require new, environmentally friendly technology to make it commercially viable to develop all that oil shale, they say. Some of that technology could come out of an oil shale research and development pilot project slated for Sweetwater County, officials involved in the effort said. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. — under an agreement with General Synfuels International — is launching Wyoming’s first oil shale research program in nearly three decades to determine the economic and environmental feasibility of developing oil shale in southwest Wyoming. General Synfuels, a wholly owned subsidiary of Earth Search Sciences Inc., secured the exploration agreement last month for a small parcel of private land south of Rock Springs, according to Anadarko spokesman Rick Robitaille…

The exploration agreement in Wyoming covers a 160-acre site about 35 miles south of Rock Springs on a Union Pacific Railroad section, said John Christiansen, a spokesman for Anadarko’s mineral programs, in a phone interview from Houston. The agreement will allow General Synfuels to test and develop the company’s patented technology to recover hydrocarbons from oil shale using a process that prioritizes “environmental sensitivity,” said Luis Lugo, CEO of Earth Sciences…

The Wyoming Wildlife Federation and other conservation groups are wary, however, of industry’s motives in oil shale development and how companies might actually use federal lands. WWF Executive Director Walt Gasson said many people hunt and fish on public lands in southwest Wyoming, and those recreational opportunities could be affected by any oil shale development. He said the pilot oil shale research projects could possibly result in hundreds of thousands of acres of vital wildlife habitat for big game and sage grouse being occupied by machinery at the exclusion of all other uses. “I realize we need some energy development, but they’ve already blanketed western Wyoming with roads and wells,” Gasson said. “Are we so desperate that we’ll sacrifice the places we’ve hunted for generations for something as uncertain as oil shale?” Steve Torbit, Rocky Mountain regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation, predicted the entire oil shale experiment will be “a colossal waste of water” for the region. He said extracting and producing oil from shale will require tremendous quantities of water that may not be readily available.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

2 thoughts on “Energy policy — oil shale: Anadarko and General Synfuels kick off pilot project near Rock Springs, Wyoming

  1. Thanks. I keep coming back to your blog after it turns up in google searches. It’s been an awesome source of information for the (saddening? maddening?) projects going on in SW WY. Keep up the good work!

    1. Liz,

      I cover Wyoming issues if there is a nexus with Colorado water issues. Oil shale will compete with the water resources up there in the Green River Basin.

      Thanks for the kind words and for the comment.

      If you don’t want to slog through everything on Coyote Gulch you can subscribe to the Green River Basin RSS feed only, for example. Here’s the URL: feed://

      That’s a really nice feature of WordPress.

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