Bloomberg reports that a proposal to tap into the world's largest shale deposits in the western United States by heating rocks until petroleum sweats out has become an election-year conflict.
Companies including Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, an Estonian utility Eesti Energia AS and a joint venture of Genia Energy Ltd. and France's Total SA are seeking to tap into the shale on federal lands in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has proposed reducing the acreage by 75 percent to 461,965 acres to protect scarce water resources.
That prompted the Republican-controlled House to pass legislation that orders the BLM to conduct at least five lease sale in the oil-shale region by the end of 2015.
The Estonian company has developed the technology that heats rock to about 900 degrees or almost five times the boiling point of water to extract oil. It does that by crushing and heating the shale.
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