Energy Forum 26: Oil Shale Production in Israel

Cite As:
Grossman Gershon, Grinberg Yaara. Energy Forum 26: Oil Shale Production in Israel Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 2012.

One of the local energy sources of the State of Israel is shale oil - a source of fossil fuel that appears in the form of marlstone or chalk rocks rich in organic matter, mostly Krogn. One can use shale oil in direct combustion and produce heat out of it, and even the possibility to use this source as a substitute for coal was examined. However, due to the relatively low calorific value and high percentage of mineral materials, a relatively large amount of mineral debris after the fire is created, and there is a need to find a solution for this issue. There is also a direct process where the extraction of the organic oil is done by retorting, and then the product is refined and products such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel are produced from it.

There are several shale oil deposits throughout Israel. There are about 30 known deposits of oil shale in different sizes, depths and qualities. In the Rotem Plateau the average thickness of the layer of oil shale is about 48 meters and there are estimated reserves of 2.5 billion tons with organic matter content of more than 10%. Due to its location in shallow depths, shale oil can be extracted in open mining, and in the past twenty years, direct combustion of shale oil to energy is being done in the Efa'a Area in the northern Negev for the Rotem Ampert plants. Below the shale oil in the Negev are phosphates, and the removal of the shale layer above them, to produce energy, increases the feasibility of their use. Experiments to exploit these shales in direct combustion were also tried, primarily by PIMA (Energy Resources Development in Hebrew), on a demonstration scale. Another source of shale oil, especially rich in Krogn quantity and content, is in the lowlands of Judah, at a depth of several hundred meters. There are plans to produce from it distillates without extraction, using the In-situ method.

Israeli shale oil development has the potential to contribute significantly to the country's energy economy, energy independence and reduce the dependence on imported fuels - primarily oil and refined petroleum products. However, opinions on the production of shale oil in Israel are numerous and often contradictory. This document describes the different views, as voiced by participants in the forum.

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