Mid 1800

Development of unconventional resources

The development of US unconventional resources began in the mid-1800s when natural gas was produced from fractured shales.


Oil shale production

Oil shale production followed in Colorado in 1917.


The fluctuation in commodity prices

The fluctuation in commodity prices since the 1970s and the advancement of technology to unlock unconventional resources have been the chief drivers that have dictated the most effective way oil shale can be exploited. A number of the major oil companies, including Total, regard oil shale as a significant component of the future energy mix and they have continued to fund research projects focused principally on the Green River Formation.


Shift away from dry gas production

In recent years, there has been a shift away from dry gas production and towards liquid-rich shale gas projects as the United States seeks greater energy security for the medium to long term. The commercialisation of the country’s considerable oil shale resources has in turn seen unmatched levels of investment and political attention to licence and develop these crucial assets.