Farewell Fossil Fuels: Reviewing America's Energy Policy by Sidney Borowitz (auth.)

By Sidney Borowitz (auth.)

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When that has been exhausted, secondary and enhanced methods of recovery are used. 1. A dome created toyrevent the oxygen of the air to decompose the oil. ) porous rock into which it has migrated. This oil is recovered in a variety of ways: by reducing its viscosity, especially for heavier oils, by thermal or chemical means; and by forcing the oil out of its home by injecting water, steam, gases, or chemicals. Virtually all of the wells in the United States use these secondary and enhanced recovery methods.

There are enormous deposits of oil shale in the United States, largely in the states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. The amount of oil in the shale is estimated to exceed all of the known oil reserves in the entire world. A problem, however, exists in recovering this bonanza and became apparent in the 1970s. When OPEC unexpectedly caused the price of oil to jump from under $10 a barrel to over $30 in 1973, the United States govemment thought it prudent to invest in methods to recover oil from shale.

The conclusion reached by any individual herdsman is the conclusion reached by everyone. Thus each person pursuing his/her own bestself interest serves to ruin the community as the commons becomes overgrazed and useless. Lest one think that this is an artificial example, in 1994 we had 52 FAREWELL FOSSIL FUELS a real life drama which precisely illustrated this principle. The Georges Bank fishing grounds, the continental shelf east of Cape Cod, can be thought of as the common grazing ground. The New England fishermen over the years added boat after boat to their fleets to increase the catch and thus increase their income.

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