Shell’s Shale Exploration in Colorado

Shell Oil Co. has broken ground on its first project on land leased from the federal government for oil shale research.

Carolyn Tucker of Shell said Thursday that the company continues to make "significant progress" on its oil shale project, which until now has occurred only on Shell land.

Shell is preparing to do a test to address the federal government's goal of developing oil shale while also extracting, or at least protecting, commercially valuable deposits of nahcolite in the same formations. (Nahcolite is a baking soda-type byproduct of frac'ing.)

Shell has three federal leases in Colorado's Rio Blanco County for research on turning oil shale into oil.