From the Foreword: The 25th Annual Oil Shale Symposium sponsored by the Colorado School of Mines and the U.S. Department of Energy signifies the end of 28 years of shale oil research designed to produce a viable commercial shale oil industry during the 20th Century in the United States. The closing by Unocal in 1991 of its processing plant to produce shale oil at Parachute, Colorado, ended this phase of development of the commercial shale oil program. Although there are other players still active in oil shale, none are concerned primarily with producing liquid fuels from oil shale. This era started in 1964 when The Colorado School of Mines Research Institute opened the U.S. government's shale oil facility and acted as manager for a research program sponsored by industry and government. This program was active until the late 1960's but became dormant because conventional crude oil was both plentiful and inexpensive. The decline in research and development meant that there were not sufficient papers written during this period to justify having symposia and, as a result, there was a three year suspension of the program. Research and development became active again in the 1970's after the OPEC boycott which dramatized the vulnerability of the United States to imported crude oil. The resumption of symposia and the broader interest in having a domestic supply of liquid fuel independent of foreign influence saw attendance increase from the former high of 250 to as many as 460 attendees. Commercialization appeared to be imminent but political and environmental requirements increased the stakes in converting shale to oil and once again the adage prevailed that, regardless of how high the price of crude oil, the cost of producing shale oil is greater. As a result, the momentum of development began to slow in the early 1980's and came to a stop at the end of the decade. It has been my privilege to have been originator and director of the Colorado School of Mines Annual Oil Shale Symposia from 1964 to 1992. It has also been a pleasure because of the support of so many people and organizations. Certainly among the first as well as the most enthusiastic were Dr. Orlo Childs, President, Colorado School of Mines, and Edwin H. Crabtree, Director, Colorado School of Mines Research Institute whose help was instrumental in getting this series started. Later, support by the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the Western Research Institute, and the U.S. Department of Energy was very helpful in continuing the symposia at a high quality level, drawing participants from all over the world. It is impossible to adequately acknowledge and thank all who contributed to, and participated in, these meetings. The success of the symposia belongs to many individuals, companies, state and federal research and development laboratories and I extend my appreciation to each. Contributors of longest duration include Richard Poulson, Laramie Energy Technology Center and Western Research Institute, and John Dyni, U.S. Geological Survey, who helped significantly over the years by soliciting papers in their areas of expertise and by chairing sessions. As I retire from the Colorado School of Mines, I am also retiring as Director of the Annual Colorado School of Mines Oil Shale Symposia. It is my hope this program will continue under new leadership to support and encourage research and development to produce oil from shale economically in an environmentally acceptably manner. In my opinion, this is essential for the future strength and security of the United States. In the future, our energy, from necessity, will come from many sources (solar, so-called alternate fuels, etc.) rather than the few of the past (oil, gas, coal, and nuclear). Because of location, availability, and environmentally safe transportation of the fuels to the market, a variety of sources for transportation fuels will be needed and oil from oil shale should have its place in that supply. James H. Gary Director.
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