Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama and Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi announced plans to partner up to further study the oil sands resources in the two states. The announcement came while both governors were addressing the Southern States Energy Board.
Northeastern MS and Northwestern AL share a formation, known as the Hartselle Sandstone, believed to contain large volumes of oil recoverable from oil sands. One study estimates 7.5 billion barrels of oil is in this reserve, but more detailed information is needed.
The Governors signed a memorandum of understanding commissioning an assessment of the oil sands formation to initiate a more thorough analysis of the resource. Oil sands is a sandy mixture found below the surface containing bitumen. After extracting the sand, the bitumen is transformed into refinery-ready crude oil.
The assessment is to be conducted as a joint effort between the Geological Survey of Alabama/State Oil and Gas Board, the Mississippi State Oil and Gas Board, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Mississippi Office of Geology and the Southern States Energy Board.
Hopefully, this resource can be profitably produced to create jobs and revenue for the local economies. With oil field jobs, on average, paying more than twice the average private sector wage, development of this formation could have a noticeable impact in these two states.