Everyday Science: Oil Shale Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Oil drilling, though difficult, is pretty simple when compared to oil shale extraction. Getting oil shale, solidified oil trapped inside rock, to the surface is currently more expensive and environmentally harmful than conventional drilling. How much do you know about this potential fuel source trapped beneath the Earth's crust?

After oil shale is excavated, extreme heat liquefies the trapped fuel and separates it from rock in a process called:

Pyrolysis, the application of extreme heat without the presence of oxygen, produces a chemical change in the rock that forces oil out.


What's the name of the fossil fuel trapped inside the rock?

Kerogen, the fossil fuel trapped inside the rock, emerges at extreme temperatures.


How much water does it take to produce a barrel of oil shale liquid?

It takes two barrels of water to produce each barrel of oil shale liquid. The water discharge from oil shale refining increases the surrounding water's salinity.


About how much rock is left behind from each barrel of shale-derived oil?

After a barrel of oil is removed from shale, about 1.5 tons (1.36 metric tons) of rock get left behind.


Which of the following issues does the Shell Company's improved oil shale refining process not eliminate?

Shell Oil's In Situ Conversion Process involves extracting oil trapped in shale by lowering heaters into the Earth, eliminating the need for mining and rock extraction. However, oil shale refining is still considerably more expensive than conventional drilling.


What's the name of the world's largest oil shale reserve?

Green River Formation, a 17,000-square-mile (44,030-square-kilometer) deposit, is located in the western United States and covers parts of Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.


About how much crude oil can Green River Formation's reserves produce?

Green River Formation's reserves can produce an estimated 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of crude oil -- that's three times more than what Saudi Arabian reserves currently hold.


How much oil does the United States consume daily?

The United States consumes about 21 million barrels of oil a day, and the country imports about 10 million of those.


At what temperatures will kerogen liquefy?

To loosen the trapped oil, extreme heat is applied. The kerogen begins to liquefy and separate from the rock it's trapped inside when the temperature hits between 650 and 700 degrees Fahrenheit (343 and 371 degrees Celsius).


What term is used to describe the point when available conventional oil reaches a decline?

Some oil analysts and researchers think humans have already reached peak oil, and that from here on out, the amount of available oil will only decrease.


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