Oil shale is a sedimentary rock that contains kerogen, a mixture of organic chemical compounds in solid form which releases hydrocarbons when heated. These hydrocarbons can be used as an alternative for petroleum or natural gas. The oil shale market is expected to witness a high growth in the coming years. Key factors owing to the market’s growth are the rising demand for energy, the depletion of non-renewable energy sources, fluctuating cost of fuel and the cost benefit of using oil shale over conventional energy sources in the long run. However, the high production cost of oil shale, the low carbon content and environmental issues such as disturbance of mined land, global warming, green house gas emission are some factors that could restraint the market’s growth. Research and development within the oil shale industry to reduce the environmental impact and devise ways to cut down production costs could open up significant growth opportunity for the market.
The oil shale market can be segmented on the basis of product, process, technology, application and geography. The major product derived from oil shale is called shale oil; others include gasoline, kerosene, diesel, heavy oil and gases such as propane and butane. The market can be segmented on the basis of the process involved in deriving products from oil shale such as oil shale exploration, ore preparation, oil shale retorting, shale oil refining and specialty services such as logistics, waste management, etc. The technology for extraction of products from oil shale can be in-situ (underground heating) or ex-situ (processing done above the ground). In-situ technology makes use of Shell’s in-situ conversion process and ex-situ technology can be implemented via fushun process, kiviter process, galoter retort, paraho process or petrosix technology. Oil shale’s find use in fuel, electricity, cement, chemical other applications. Geographical segmentation includes North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World.
United States of America has abundant reserves of oil shale and thus the market is expected to witness a high growth rate in North America. Regions such as Estonia and Russia are already established markets in Europe. Asia Pacific too is expected to witness a market growth over the coming years. Some of the key players in the market are American Shale Oil, General Synfuels International, Oil Shale Exploration Company, Central Pacific Minerals, BP, Harbin Coal Chemical Company, Japan Oil, Baraka Energy & Resources, Ambre energy, Gas & Metals National Corp (JOGMEC), Chevron Shale Oil Company, Oil India Limited (OIL), Independent Energy Partners (IEP), Queensland Shale Oil Limited, Israel Chemicals Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell, and others.
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