The Joint Energy Development Water Needs Committee reported that total demands can be seen in Table 13 of the Final Scenarios report. Maximum water demands are about 120,000 acre-feet per year, a substantial decrease from the 400,000 acre-feet per year in the Phase I study. The reduction stems from 3 primary factors:
1. It was assumed a portion of an in-situ oil shale industry would use some form of down-hole combustion process instead of electrical heaters, which results in reduced electrical generation requirements. We know that from Phase I, water for electrical generation for oil shale actually exceeded the water directly needed for oil shale production.
2. It was assumed combined cycle natural gas fired turbines would be used for electrical generation. These require approximately a third less water. If coal-fired generation was used to meet electrical demand, we believe the generating capacity would occur out of the basin.
3. With extensive input from industry, the committee fine-tuned the unit water demands for oil shale. It believes these revisions are a more realistic estimate of how water might be used in oil shale production. For example, the unit demand estimates reflect information from industry that the in-situ conversion process results in the molecular production of water from the organic compounds in the oil shale.