Short Courses and Conferences

31st Oil Shale Symposium

October 17 - 21, 2011

Workshop on Principles for Oil Shale Resource Assessment
Jeremy Boak, CSM; Ron Johnson, Justin Birdwell, USGS, Workshop Co-Chairs
October 20, 2011


Resource estimates for oil shale deposits have been undertaken regularly for many decades. The effort to provide such estimates faces numerous challenges because of significant spatial heterogeneity in the richness of oil shale laterally and especially vertically, because of uncertainty in the relationship of any measure of richness to the actual yield of any given method for extracting hydrocarbons, and because of the uncertainty regarding hydrocarbon recovery from a given volume by a given method. These problems arise even in the most extensively characterized oil shale deposits, e.g., the Green River Formation of Utah.

Obvious differences in the potential recovery arise between significantly different methods for extraction, for example in-situ versus surface processing, open pit versus underground mining, etc. In addition, each method within these broader classes can ultimately be expected to recover different fractions of a given resource. A consistent baseline method for defining the size of a resource can hopefully yield better estimates of reserves both for companies seeking funding and for governments interested in defining the development regime in their countries.

The purpose of this workshop is to identify the important measures for oil shale resources, the sources of the uncertainties related to these measures, and methods to address these uncertainties to provide a reasonable and communicable estimate of the potential of a given deposit. Through presentations on the methodology of existing estimates for individual deposits and for global resource estimates, as well as discussion of the lessons to be learned from various efforts, the workshop will attempt to define a set of principles that might be applied to better describe the resource potential and its uncertainties for governments and companies interested in developing oil shale resources.


The expectation for the workshop is that it will identify a set of principles as well as unanswered questions for the effective characterization of size of oil shale deposits and their commercial potential, with special emphasis on the ability to deal with sparsely characterized deposits. Research needs to enable better characterization of resources may also be identified.


The workshop will be conducted through presentations, panel discussions and open discussions on several topics related to defining resources, and the objective will be to develop lists of issues, refine them, and define and prioritize related research needs, possible approaches, and processes. It will also be important to identify particular deposits for which the various issues and needs exist. A more detailed agenda will be provided as the presenters are confirmed.


The outcome of the workshop, to be produced after the workshop is complete, will be an integrated summary of the principles, approaches, processes, and research needs identified, with recommendations for future refinement.

Who Should Attend

The workshop should be of interest to industry, government, non-governmental organization and academic attendees at the Oil Shale Symposium with familiarity with or interest in various resources and the databases available to characterize those resources.


The workshop will be held in Petroleum Hall in Green Center on the campus of Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, USA.

Fees and Registration

Registration for the workshop can be included in your registration for the 31st Oil Shale Symposium, or you can register for the workshop separately. Attendance of the Oil Shale Symposium is not required for participation in the workshop.

Several registration options are available

  • Registration before September 3, 2011   $195 USD
  • Registration between September 3, 2011 and September 30, 2011   $245 USD
  • Registration after September 30, 2011   $275 USD
  • Student registration before September 3, 2011   $100 USD
  • Student registration between September 3, 2011 and September 30, 2011   $115 USD
  • Student registration after September 30, 2011   $130 USD

The registration fee includes program materials, refreshments at breaks, and lunch on the day of the workshop.

If you would like to include registration for the workshop in your registration for the Oil Shale Symposium, please visit the Symposium registration information page. Go there now...

To register for the workshop separately, an online registration form is available. Go there now...

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