Oil Shale Research

Oil shale is a thinly layered, blocky to fissile (breaking into

thin layers), sedimentary rock rich in preserved organic material that yields significant amounts of oil and gas when heated sufficiently. Oil shale was commonly deposited in

large, fresh to highly saline lakes or in shallow marine environments. The organic material consists of kerogen,

a complex mix of fossilized remains mainly of algae and cyanobacteria.

The global resource of oil potentially available from oil

shale is substantially larger than the amount of oil

produced historically. Potential reserves have been

estimated at 2.8 trillion barrels of oil. However, recent

revision of Chinese resource estimates may potentially

add ~300 billion barrels to the global resource. The Chinese estimate is for potential resources, of which they estimate approximately 25% are producible, still a substantial increase over previous estimates. All estimates of recoverable shale oil are uncertain at this time, but at least ten countries have resources estimated at greater than 15 billion barrels, most of them outside the Middle East.

The Colorado School of Mines is pleased to announce

formation of the Center for Oil Shale Technology and

Research (COSTAR) to conduct research in support of development of this resource. This was formally created at the 28th Oil Shale Symposium in October, 2008. Research will


  • Rock Physics and Rock Mechanics
  • Geological and Stratigraphic Controls on Oil Shale Formation
  • Geochemistry of Oil Shale

In addition, the Center will support an Oil Shale Information Office to:

  • Develop a geographically referenced database of oil shale materials from CSM’s large repository of related materials.
  • Support research into oil shale, including assistance to researchers, cataloguing and analysis of available data, and continued support of the Oil Shale Symposium series.

The Center, along with the Colorado Energy Research Institute (CERI), the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and other sponsors hosts the annual Oil Shale Symposium. The Oil Shale Symposium is the premier technical meeting on this resource. The Symposium reviews development of oil shale resources worldwide, including research & development, environmental impact analysis, regulatory framework, and project & program status. The program includes both oral and poster presentations.

29th Oil Shale

Colorado School of Mines
Golden, Colorado
October 19-23, 2009

2009 Symposium Information and Registration

Abstract Submission

International Oil Shale Symposium
Talinn University of Technology
Talinn, Estonian

6-11 June 2009

Talinn International Oil
Symposium Information

28th Oil Shale
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, Colorado

October 13-17, 2008

Symposium Proceedings


27th Oil Shale Symposium
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, Colorado

October 15-19, 2007

Symposium Proceedings

26th Oil Shale Symposium

Colorado School of Mines
Golden, Colorado
October 16-20, 2006

Symposium Proceedings