The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fascinating Israeli Technology Breakthrough

IMRA is reporting that in Israel a process has been developed that can extract oil from shale at a cost of $17 per barrel! According to IMRA:

Oil shale is limestone rock that contains hydrocarbons, or fossil fuels -- about 20 percent of the amount of energy found in coal. Using the rock as a raw material and coating it with bitumen, a residue of the crude oil refining process, the company can produce natural gas, fuel, electricity, or a combination of the three.

Older technologies squeezed the hydrocarbon material out of the rock, with extremely high pressure and at high temperatures. According to Professor Ze'ev Aizenshtat, an oil shale expert, the Hom Tov process is more environmentally friendly than other /methods of converting oil shale into energy. It also allows for more flexibility in the kind of
fuel produced, produces less waste and operates at lower temperatures than other methods.

The article clearly shows that the intention is to share the technology (while making a profit on it of course):

"Because the patents for this process belong to (the company), Israel is the most advanced in the world in the effort to create energy from oil shale," Moshe Shahal, a Hom Tov legal representative and a former Israeli energy minister, told United Press International.

Shahal estimated that the company's Negev Desert facility would begin full-scale production in three to four years, while other countries with oil shale deposits will need five to six years to reach production.

Hom Tov is going to be one very wealthy company before this is through. However, on a side note I am going to predict that other countries of the world will justify stealing this technology. After all Israel does not deserve such profit, right? China has been known for its strict adherence to patents and copyrights in the past, right?

This is great news for the US. The US has massive shale oil reserves in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. In 5-6 years the US can be tapping into this reserve at a very cost effective way. This will help to remove our dependence on foreign oil and provide jobs to these states. One step closer to telling OPEC to go pound sand. Many other countries also have shale oil deposits. This could really increase oil supply bringing down the price of oil. The downside is that it may reduce pressure to replace fossile fuels for more environmentally friendly alternatives. Hopefully, these alternatives will continue to be explored and developed. While I do not buy into the full blown 5 alarm global warming theory, I am all for a better environment and less pollution.

So kudos to Hom Tov for this breakthrough. Hat tip: Instapundit


  • At 8:48 PM, Blogger SkyePuppy said…

    Back in the 1980s, my then-husband was working for Occidental Petroleum at their research facility in Southern California. He worked on the oil shale project, which used the high pressure and high temperature method of extraction.

    The part that I liked (and still like) best about how they approached the task was that they were dedicated to extracting the oil from within the mountain--without impacting the outside of the mountain or the environment. They'd have a road to get there and a hole to get inside. All the work would be done inside.

    It's hard to imagine how this new method can get more environmentally friendly that Oxy's method, but if it is, then kudos to Hom Tov!

    Great post.

  • At 7:34 AM, Blogger LASunsett said…

    This is something that I have advocated for awhile now. But until recently, it has been too expensive. The oil companies should take some of their record profits and invest in this technology. They would benefit, the consumers would benefit, but those that support terrorists would not.

    But we all know that the environazis will still object.

  • At 12:30 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Thanks Skyepuppy. Interesting point of experience on the Oxy method.

    LA, every bit of energy we can develop and get our hands on that is not from a foreign source makes us more independent. I am for the expansion of domestic fossil fuels as well as non-fossil fuels.

  • At 7:00 AM, Blogger Malott said…

    But lasunsett is right. This will drive the environmentalists nuts, and their pawns in the Democrat congress will fight it tooth and nail...

    I thought the recent rise in oil prices might make any shale production cost effective. But Big Foreign Oil might secure a price below that threshold. But 17 dollars a barrell? That would be hard to undercut.

  • At 8:20 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…


    While I don't think it should be forced, I agree that it would be a very smart move for the oil companies to use some of that huge profit to invest in securing independence from foreign oil. The shale is a good start. I would think they would want to be in the ground floor of alternative energy sources though. Once a cheap renewable, environment friendly source of energy comes along they can either be part of it or die like dinasaurs.

  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger LASunsett said…


    //I would think they would want to be in the ground floor of alternative energy sources though.//

    ANY new energy source that they could develop, could put them in position for even more record profits. It seems like this is a no-brainer.


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