Dryblower: Oil shale still as slippery as ever

IF NOTHING else Queensland's McFarlane family earns points for trying. Since 1968 they have tried to convince the world that a fortune is waiting to be tapped in the shale oil deposits which litter Australia's eastern seaboard.

In the 1970s success seemed assured. The world's biggest oil company, Exxon, bought into the so-called Rundle oil shale twins, Central Pacific Minerals and Southern Pacific Petroleum.