MOBILE, Ala.–Oil sands in northeast Mississippi and Alabama will be studied for a possible new source of petroleum in the state after an agreement between Gov. Phil Bryant and Alabama Gov. Bob Bently signed over the weekend.
The two met and made their announcement Saturday at a meeting of the Southern States Energy Board, which oversees the use of such resources.
Oil sands contain a substance called bitumen, from which refinery-ready oil can be extracted.
“As I have said before, for our nation to become more energy independent, we must recognize the importance of a forward-thinking approach to energy and continue to develop a comprehensive energy policy that works,” Gov. Bryant said.
“By taking this action, we’re exploring the potential for safe and reliable development of energy right here at home,” Gov. Bentley said.
The effort 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.
There may be as much as 7.5 billion barrels of oil that can be extracted from the Hartselle Sandstone that covers northern Alabama and Mississippi, according to one recent study.
Gov. Bryant said the new study would give the two states the latest information on just how much oil is there and just what it would take to get it out.
The oil sands of Alberta may serve as a model.