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WRFO Oil Shale Program

Oil Shale Research, Development, & Demonstration (RD&D) Leases

In 2007 the BLM issued six oil shale research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) leases; five of those leases are within the Piceance Basin in the WRFO. The RD&D leases issued during the first round of leasing included an RD&D lease of 160 acres with the ability to identify up to 5,120 acres for a preference lease area to be included during later commercial leasing.

In the second round of leasing, the RD&D parcel is again 160 acres but the associated preference lease area has been reduced to an additional area of up to 480 contiguous acres. The preference lease area is an area that can be reserved for conversion to a commercial lease at a future time after additional BLM review. There are currently two proposals being considered by the WRFO during this second round of RD&D leasing.        

1st Round of Oil Shale RD&D Leases

For more information on the 1st round of oil shale RD&D leasing, please use the links in the table below.

Chevron USA Inc.

Plan of Operation

Environmental Assessments

Shell Frontier Oil and Gas Inc.

Plan of Operation

Environmental Assessments

E.G.L. Resources Inc.  

Plan of Operation 

Environmental Assessments 


2nd Round of Oil Shale RD&D Leases

For more information about the 2nd round of RD&D leasing, please click here.

Map of All of the Oil Shale RD&D Tracts and Preference Acreage

A map of all the oil shale RD&D tracts and associate preference areas for both round one and round two.

To download a PDF version of the above map, please click here.


Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)

In 2008, the BLM published a Final PEIS that, in addition to expanding the acreage potentially available for commercial tar-sands leasing, amended 8 resource management plans (RMPs) in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming to make approximately 1.9 million acres of public lands potentially available for commercial oil shale development and 431,224 acres for tar sands leasing and development. 

With commercial development of oil shale at least several years away, the new planning process will allow the BLM to take a fresh look at what public lands are best suited for oil shale and tar sands development.  Final land-use decisions will be made in light of any new information about potential resource needs and impacts, and technological innovations.

For information on the 2008 Final PEIS, please visit the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic EIS Information Center.

For information on the new programmatic planning process, please read the press releases:

"BLM Begins New Look at Oil Shale Plans" 4/14/11

"BLM to Hold Public Meetings in Rifle and Meeker" 4/14/11