Oil Shale

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Oil shale is a class of sedimentary rock (not necessarily shale) that contains significant amounts of Kerogen, a waxy substance from which oil can be obtained through a process called pyrolysis. The worldwide oil reserves contained in oil shale are estimated to be in the region of three trillion barrels [1], but obtaining this oil is both economically and environmentally expensive - a problem that has limited its use to date.[1]

  1. World Energy Council, Annual Energy Outlook 2006, Energy Information Administration, February 2006. (web)