The phases of development of a commercial oil shale industry can be broken into three stages: exploration, field-testing, and commercial production.
The diagram at left, based on a recent Department of Energy report profiling current activity in oil shale development, shows that the majority of current oil shale development remains in the very early stages. While a handful of companies reported being active in the field-testing of new technologies in 2009, only one company had announced plans to upscale to a prototype (semi-works scale) facility. Click here for maps showing the location of oil shale deposits (external web site).
Our 2010 update to “Oil Shale in the West: 14 Unanswered Questions” provides more information on the landscape of existing oil shale development activities. You may download this page as a printable pdf.