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9 things you wanted to know about oil shale  

1.The term oil shale generally refers to any sedimentary rock that contains solid bituminous materials (called kerogen) that are released as petroleum-like liquids when the rock is heated in the chemical process of pyrolysis.

2.Shale oil or kerogen oil is an unconventional oil produced by the destructive distillation of oil shale. This process, a controlled form of pyrolysis, converts the organic matter within the rock (kerogen) into synthetic oil and gas.

3.The resulting oil can be used immediately as a fuel or upgraded to meet refinery feedstock specifications by adding hydrogen and removing impurities such as sulfur and nitrogen.

 4. The refined products can be used for the same purposes as those derived from crude oil..

5. Oil shale was formed millions of years ago by deposition of silt and organic debris on lake beds and sea bottoms. Over long periods of time, heat and pressure transformed the materials into oil shale in a process similar to the process that forms oil; however, the heat and pressure were not as great.

 6. Oil shale generally contains enough oil that it will burn without any additional processing, and it is known as "the rock that burns".

7. Oil shale can be mined and processed to generate oil similar to oil pumped from conventional oil wells; however, extracting oil from oil shale is more complex than conventional oil recovery and currently is more expensive.

8. The oil substances in oil shale are solid and cannot be pumped directly out of the ground. The oil shale must first be mined and then heated to a high temperature (a process called retorting); the resultant liquid must then be separated and collected.

9. An alternative but currently experimental process referred to as in situ retorting involves heating the oil shale while it is still underground, and then pumping the resulting liquid to the surface.


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