Put back the party hats and streamers people, the shale oil extraction party is over, even before it began! Japan Petroleum Exploration Co.’s test extraction of oil from the Ayukawa oil and gas field in mountains of Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture was a first of its kind for Japan; however the cost of extraction and other issues threaten to be the party pooper.
Apparently shale oil and shale gas, require complicated methods of extraction, and this procedure is compounded by environmental concerns. In lay terms the process to extract the oil entails a high amount of drilling and extraction costs. These two factors deter it from becoming a primary source of energy for Japan, who is desperately trying to wean off its dependency on nuclear energy.
The current extraction process required pumping a large volume of hydrochloric acid into rock layers. The team had to dig around 1,800 meters deep just to dissolve the limestone that clog the cracks and through which oil can be obtained. The use of such high amounts of acid can be detrimental to the environment and can trigger and environmentalist attack on the whole project! JAPEX also cited that the cost of labour to handle the whole extraction process would be very high. In a nutshell, the oil and gas is there, readily available for extraction, but the procedure for extraction may not be so lucrative. In any case the reports indicate that since only 5 million barrels can be extracted, it will cover only Japan’s one-day energy consumption requirement.