KNUTSON, CARROLL F., INEL, EEG Idaho, Idaho Falls, ID; J. R. DYNI, USGS, Denver, CO; J. L. QIAN, Beijing Petroleum Univ., Beijing, China; F. D. BALL, 3-D Geoconsultants, Fredericton, N.B., Canada; V. KATTAI, V. PUURA, K. UROV, and A. KOGERMAN, Estonian Academy of Science, Tallinn, Estonia; A. C. HUTTON, Univ. of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia; G. SOLTI, Hungarian Geological Institute, Budapest, Hungary; and E. M. PIPER, Stone & Webster, Denver, CO
A review of the oil shale developments in the decade of the 1980s, carried out by the AAPG/EMD oil shale committee, reveals some interesting patterns. In the early portion of the decade the production of synfuels from oil shale received the major interest. The countries such as the USSR and China, with a mature shale oil industries, were in the middle of programs to accelerate the research and development efforts aimed at increasing shale oil production. Other countries with oil shale resources, such as the USA, Canada, Brazil, and Australia, were fielding major research and development efforts aimed at putting in place significant shale oil production capacities. Environmental awareness was growing during this period and-the calculated cost of shale oil was a monotonically increasing factor. The decrease in the price of crude oil in the early 1980s, resulted in detailed examination of the varied synfuel research and development projects and a general marked decrease in their funding.
The middle and late 1980s saw increased attention paid to the non-synfuel uses of oil shale. Some examples of successful applications are the (1) Israeli power generation with direct oil shale combustion and spent shale used for ceramics and cement, (2) Hungarian utilization of oil shale in agriculture, and (3) the utilization of spent shale as a cement component in Germany, Estonia, and China. Research in applications for shale oil components as petrochemicals and niche market hydrocarbons was and is being carried out in Estonia, Russia, and the USA.