A Japanese drilling company has succeeded in extracting the first shale oil from underground in Japan, which has no natural resources of its own, NHK TV channel reported on Wednesday.
“The Japan Petroleum Exploration Company said on Wednesday it is extracting small amounts of shale oil mixed with acid from the Ayukawa oil and gas field in Akita Prefecture, northeastern Japan,” the TV channel said.
Black crude oil separated from the acid in a flask was demonstrated to the media.
Shale oil is contained in hard rock layers deep underground and recent advances in drilling technology have made development possible.
Engineers pumped in acid to dissolve the hard bedrock about 1,800 meters below ground and began the test extraction process on Tuesday. The test will continue until Thursday and they will study the extraction efficiency to see whether production can generate a profit.
Company officials have said the Akita prefecture could produce up to 100 million barrels of shale oil, which is equivalent to nearly 10 percent of Japan's annual crude oil consumption.