Miss. Plans To Study Oil Sands for Potential OilBy Evelina Burnett | Published 01 Aug 2013 06:00am |
Mississippi and Alabama will soon launch a new study of oil sands in both states. The assessment will look at what it will take to extract the billions of barrels of oil estimated to be under the surface.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley have signed an agreement commissioning a study of the oil sands resources in parts of north Mississippi and Alabama. This subsurface layer of rocky sand contains oil which can be extracted and turned into “refinery ready crude oil.” The most recent study, from the 1980s, estimates there are 7.5 billion barrels of oil in the area.
Jack Moody with the Mississippi Development Authority says this finding is worthy of attention.
"Those numbers are big enough to warrant more investigation, more analysis and it made good sense to both governors to collaborate, bring the strengths of each state to the task and working as a team, come up with that assessment," says Moody.
The MDA is one of the partners in the study, along with agencies in both states and the regional Southern States Energy Board. Ken Nemeth is the Board’s executive director.
"The governors recognize the need for a comprehensive geologic and engineering assessment of the states' oil sands resources because we learned that Alabama is the third largest oil sands resource state in the country behind Utah and California and we know that some of that out cropping goes over into Mississippi," says Nemeth.
Mississippi and Alabama officials have been to Canada to talk with leaders there about a large oil sands operation in Alberta. Neemeth says they plan to learn from the Canadians’ experience.
"They've been doing this for a long time, the last 60 or plus years, and so it enables us to learn from their environmental best practices."
Nemeth says the agreement also calls for an analysis of any laws and regulations needed for the states to work together.
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