Energy: Setback for Synfuel

Exxon shuts down its shale project

Just three years ago, the plan to develop synthetic fuels was to be another Manhattan Project, a dramatic, accelerated national effort to meet energy needs from American resources and help make the U.S. less dependent on foreign crude. Its cost: up to $88 billion, 44 times the World War II effort to build an atomic bomb.

Last week the U.S. synthetic-fuels program suffered its sharpest blow, one that could prove to be a major setback for large-scale attempts to develop energy alternatives to conventionally obtained oil. Exxon, the...

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