Oil shale deposits are known from almost all countries in Europe and range in age from Paleozoic to Eocene. The geology of Europe is well known, and the discovery of new and significant oil shale deposits is not anticipated. A considerably different situation exists in North Africa and the Near East, where sparsely tested areas in the Sahara and desert fringe might contain important oil shale deposits. Most of the oil shale deposits in these areas (1) are of Cretaceous age, (2) occur with phosphate deposits, and (3) owe their origin to sedimentary processes associated with upwelling. Oil shales can be found from Turkey to Morocco along a paleocoastline, and better definition of this feature could result in new discoveries. In contrast to the United States, oil shale deposits in Europe are being used as energy sources and will probably serve the same purpose in North Africa and the Near East.
Two deposits in Europe that are being developed actively are Puertollano (Spain) and Dotternhausen (Germany). The oil shales at Puertollano occur in Carboniferous shales, yield up to 45 gal/ton, and have been used as fuel for an electric power plant since 1922. In-place reserves are estimated at 100 million tons of oil. The deposit at Dotternhausen is exploited for fuel for a power plant and the spent shale is used in the manufacture of cement. The oil shale is in the Posidonia Shale (Liassic) and is estimated at 1 billion tons. Three power plants are under construction in Romania and will utilize a 200-ft (60-m) thick shale that is estimated to contain a few hundred million tons of reserves. Similar plans exist for an operation in Bulgaria, near the Yugoslavian border.
Upper Cretaceous shales in Timahdit, central Morocco, will serve as feed stock for a 100 ton/day semicontinuous-flow pilot plant, which is scheduled for 1984 completion. The oil shale deposit in El Lajjun, Jordan, contains 130 million tons of oil in place and, if exploited, could furnish a 35-yr supply of oil for the country. Development of the deposit in the Oren Efe syncline in Israel could help move this country toward energy independence. The bituminous shales of Turkey contain an estimated few billion tons of oil in place. The Neqr Izmir shales in the eastern Mediterranean provinces have oil yields of 45-68 gal/ton and are currently being studied by the German Geological Survey. Recent oil shale studies in Egypt indicate approximately 500 million tons of oil in place, and these deposits could be used as energy sources related to phosphate and cement production.