Meanwhile, U.S. firms are busily building infrastructure to extract oil and gas from shale deposits estimated to hold 1.5 trillion barrels, or about 5 times the current Saudi reserves of 300 bbls.
Environmentalists like Treasury Sec. Chu obviously won't approve of this trend, but the hard reality is that fossil fuels are not going away soon, thanks to technological advances such as "fracking" (hydraulic fracturing using horizontally injected water).
The fact that this was modded insightful shows just how little Slashdotters know about this issue.
The oil boom the United States is experiencing will be short-lived.
Your facts are basically wrong. You make it sound like we'll obtain even close to 1.5 trillion barrels of oil from fracking, but that's just not true. There's two different kinds of "shale oil." The first is the kind that is actually small pockets of oil trapped in shale. That's the kind being recovered in the Bakken formation. You can access that oil with fracking and horizontal drilling, but the amount of economically viable oil we'll get from fracking in the United States is more like 20-50 billion barrels or less.
The 1.5 trillion figure you are quoting is probably including oil shale which is not oil. It's a type of rock that requires extensive processing (i.e., high temperatures for long periods of time) to create liquid oil. Turning it into usable oil is highly energy intensive, potentially incredibly environmentally destructive, and most importantly, essentially no one is doing it. People have been working on this process for 40 years and they still can't make it work economically. Ignoring the environmental problems, it would probably take more energy to produce on average than it would provide.