China (Manchuria), Estonia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland began extracting shale oil in the early 20th century. However, crude oil discoveries in Texas during the 1920s and in the Middle East in the mid 20th century brought most oil shale industries to a halt. In 1944, the US recommenced shale oil extraction as part of its Synthetic Liquid Fuels Program. These industries continued until oil prices fell sharply in the 1980s. The last oil shale retort in the US, operated by Unocal Corporation, closed in 1991. The US program was restarted in 2003, followed by a commercial leasing program in 2005 permitting the extraction of oil shale and oil sands on federal lands in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
As of 2010, shale oil extraction is in operation in Estonia, Brazil, and China. Their industries produced about 1,165 million liters of shale oil during 2008. Australia, the US, and Canada have tested shale oil extraction techniques via demonstration projects and are planning commercial implementation; Morocco and Jordan have announced their intent to do the same. Only four technologies are in commercial use: Kiviter, Galoter, Fushun, and Petrosix.
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