By Brian Maffly | The Salt Lake Tribune
Oil shale production can now move forward in Utah. Regulators on Friday issued a groundwater permit to Red Leaf Resources, a Utah company planning to develop a shale mine and below-grade ovens to heat ore mined from state land in the Uinta Basin.
A yuletide present to those championing Utah energy production, the permit issued by the UtahDivision of Water Quality is the last big hurdle for North America’s first commercial oil shale mine. Red Leaf said it expects mining operations to begin in the spring.
Kerogen-bearing shale exists in vast abundance under Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, but no one has figured out how to extract oil from it in commercial amounts. With 600 million barrels available under its Utah leasehold, Red Leaf hopes to be the first.
Its initial, small-scale demonstration project “will produce more than 300,000 barrels of oil and prove our clean oil shale technology works on a large scale,” said CEO Adolph Lechtenberger in a news release.
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