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Oil Brimming Under Hoosier Soil?

Last updated on Monday, August 18, 2008

(UNDATED) - Washington has been in an uproar over whether to allow more oil drilling off the Gulf of Mexico and the east and west coasts. But there’s an estimated 12-million barrels of oil still in the ground in Indiana.

At least 65 Indiana counties produce oil or gas, and Southwest Indiana is practically brimming with oil deposits. The problem is, it's not a single oilfield, but several small pockets of oil. That means you'd have to set up multiple oil rigs to get at it, which drives up the cost and eliminates the economies of scale that make drilling profitable.

Indiana Petroleum Association Executive Director Maggie Mcshane says the big oil companies pulled out of Indiana in the '80s and '90s. But rising prices have lured a growing handful of small independent companies. Their efforts amount to one-tenth of one-percent of domestic production.

The 12-million barrels in the ground represents the same fraction of total U.S. reserves.

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