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Shell’s decision to shut down its oil shale operations in Colorado

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Printed letters, September 29, 2013

Shell’s decision to shut down its oil shale operations in Colorado and move it to friendlier places like Canada and Jordan was based on artificial economic factors created by the government’s punitive regulatory approach, not normal free-market determinants.

Most people knew this was bound to happen as soon as former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed the oil shale leasing plan that reduced the availability of land for the industry to a paltry few acres scattered here and there. No business could be expected to operate under the conditions imposed on the oil shale industry by the BLM, which was reacting favorably to an irresponsible lawsuit brought by a coalition of anti-economic development organizations.

Shell’s decision was forced by regulatory pressure, nothing more. The company is not quitting Colorado oil shale because of technological difficulties. It is not reallocating assets to another product or technology. It is simply moving them to a place that will allow it to employ its technology and expertise. Shell’s technology works; it is government in this state and country that does not.

We should be ashamed as a nation that we would force an industry with the strong potential to create long-term economic health and job growth to go elsewhere. We should be ashamed that we sit on top of the richest energy source in the world, but are willing to let the Middle East and OPEC continue its stranglehold on the world’s energy supply for the sake of politics. We should be ashamed that we have a federal and state government that would not just callously allow, but actively encourage, such a thing to happen.

Guess we better keep that aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean to protect the energy supply that the BLM just exported there.


Grand Junction


By M. Todd Miskel - Sunday, September 29, 2013

I helped build the Shell FWT site and was there the very night they flipped the switch to start the freeze wall. I was told it was a several year test. A year ago or so, I heard it had been declared a successful test. The next step was a much larger one.

Next comes Ken Salazar and the greenie agenda, lessening the availability of viable land and threatening lawsuits over water and doing whatever they can to throw more roadblocks up. It’s a damn shame.

I’m sure Shell’s Jordan and Canada shale projects will welcome the additional funds no longer needed in the U.S.A.

By Bob Arrington - Sunday, September 29, 2013

Jim Spehar and the Sentinel Staff editorial each said the magic words, Chevron and Shell couldn’t make it economical. Two decriers (one here and the other in letters) blame people, regulations and whatever target they can blame, but will not recognize the companies can see their experiments DO NOT PAY A PROFIT. Technology for extraction can be super,A-1, letter perfect, but if it costs more than they can sale the product, the companies are gone quits and kaput. These two complainers evidently never bought into the Tosco or Exxon bubbles that made the experimental plans manifest and set people to lose everything in the downturn of failure to get an economic process. These two start pointing fingers at every thing except in the right direction – it can’t make a profit when so much has to go in to get something out. As far as regulations, they are stiffer in Canada, but the product is easier to and CHEAPER to get out. There is no saving point of more land to plunder or pouring of more resource in trade for another; it is simply too costly for what they get in return. For the complainers, get a life and learn how the big companies operate. By the way, for the house pubs that forced sequester that also dried up the government funds that were helping support these programs, give a tip of the hat to Tipton.


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