An oil shale is considered an unconventional hydrocarbon resource, whose reserves of oil are less abundant than those of crude oil or natural gas. However, it remains one of the most valuable fuel sources on a global scale. A fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (organic chemical compounds), an oil shale can be economically harnessed when crude oil prices rise. Below are the top three countries with the biggest recoverable reserves of shale oil and shale gas:
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1. United States. Oil shale deposits in the country are the largest in the world, comprising nearly half of the planet’s total resources. The richest deposits, however, are found only in specific areas: Texas, Mississippi, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. The U.S. is one of the very few countries in the world that produce shale oil and shale gas in commercial quantities.
2. China. At the far second, China has oil shale reserves of more than 30 billion metric tons, although only about 10 percent of which is technically exploitable. The top oil shale deposits and production in the country are concentrated in the Fushun and Liaoning regions.
3. Russia. From its Volga-Petchyorsk province and Baltic Oil Shale Basin reserves alone, Russia is easily among the most commercially feasible countries to exploit oil shale. Additionally, the country tops the world in terms of natural gas deposits.
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