Fuels from Oil Shale and Tar Sands - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Fuels from Oil Shale and Tar Sands


Fuels from Oil Shale and Tar Sands Nature of resource Size What s required to produce/process Issues Atomic H/C Ratios From Wiser, 2000 Arrow in direction of – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Fuels from Oil Shale and Tar Sands

Fuels from Oil Shale and Tar Sands
  • Nature of resource
  • Size
  • Whats required to produce/process
  • Issues

Atomic H/C Ratios
  • Solid-liquid-gas
  • Ease of transport
  • Less solids pollution
  • Less air contamination
  • Smaller viscosity

Note scale is a continuum
From Wiser, 2000
Classification Based on Viscosity.
  • Roughly. At room temperature
  • m lt 10 cp is a light oil
  • m lt 10,000 is a heavy oil
  • m lt 106 is a tar sand oil
  • m gt 106 is bitumen

Classification Based Non-organic Sediment.
H/C Ratio
Non-Organic Sediment
The Canadian Oil Sands
  • The US consumes annually 7 x 109 bbl oil
  • The Alberta Canada (Athabascan) oil (tar) sands
    contain 2 x 1011 bbl oil, recoverable at current
    price, matching the recoverable reserves of Saudi
  • The 2005 Albertan tar oil production was 4 x 108

Economic History of the Canadian Oil Sands
  • Commercial production of oil from the Athabasca
    oil sands began in 1967, when Suncor opened its
    first mine. Development was soon inhibited by
    declining world oil prices.
  • The second mine, operated by Syncrude, began
    operating in 1978. As the price of oil subsided
    after the Arab oil embargo, the plug was again
    pulled on new developments.
  • The third mine, operated by Shell Canada started
    operating only in 2003.
  • With the 2004-2006 oil price increases, and the
    production cost being 35- 38, the existing
    mines have been greatly expanded and new ones are
    being planned

Where Will the Tar Oil Go?
  • An agreement has been signed between PetroChina
    and Enbridge to build a 400,000 barrel-per-day
    pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to the west-coast
    port of Kitimat BC to export synthetic crude oil
    from the oil sands to China plus a 150,000 bpd
    pipeline running the other way to import
    condensate to dilute the bitumen so it will flow.
  • Sinopec, China's largest refining and chemical
    company, and China National Petroleum Corporation
    have bought shares in major oil sands companies
  • India invested 1 billion in the Athabasca Oil
    Sands in 2006. Four Indian companies are involved

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The Oil Sand Crude Bitumen
Tar Sands.
  • Nature Highly viscous hydrocarbon found with
    80-90non-organic material
  • Size large deposits in California, Alberta,
  • Conventional mining/processing
  • In situ injection of steam
  • Issues.
  • Energy intensive
  • Several commercial processes
  • Cogeneration helps
  • Low quality crude oil

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Shale Oil
  • Oil shales are rocks rich in organic matter
  • The oil is derived through retorting, i.e.
    pyrolysis in the absence of air, at 445-500 C
  • The worldwide reserves of oil shale are estimated
    at 2.6 trillion barrels of recoverable oil.
    1.0-1.2 trillion barrels are in the US
  • Oil shale is can be burned as is, but it is a
    low-grade fuel
  • Oil shale is currently mined in Estonia, Brazil
    and China

History of US Shale Oil 1964-1980 On-Again, Off
  • 1964 Colony oil shale project of Tosco, Sohio and
    Cleveland Cliffs
  • 1972 Colony oil shale project halted after
    270,000 bbls were produced. Occidental Petroleum
    conducts in-situ oil shale experiments at Logan,
    WA. Shell researches Piceance Creek in-situ steam
    injection process for oil shale. Oil drops
  • 1974 Unocal develops new Union B retort
    process Shell and Ashland join Colony Project.
    Oil prices increase, at 41/bbl
  • 1976 Unocal begins planning commercial scale
    plant at Parachute Creek to be built when
    investment is economical
  • 1977 Oil prices drop. Superior Oil abandons plan
    for Meeker oil shale plant planned since 1972
  • 1979 Shell, Ashland, Cleveland Cliffs and Sohio
    sell interests in Colony to ARCO and Tosco Shell
    sells leases to Occidental and Tenneco.
  • 1980 Exxon buys Arcos Colony interest and in
    1981 starts Colony II construction, designed for
    47,000 bbl/d by the Tosco II retort process
    Unocal plans Long Ridge 50 000 bbl/d plant
    applying Union B retort Amoco Rio Blanco
    produces 1,900 bbls of in-situ oil

History of US Shale Oil 1981-2000
1981 Exxon begins to build Battlement Mesa
company town for oil shale workers Second Rio
Blanco in-situ retort demonstration produces
24,400 bbls of shale oil 1982 Oil demand falls
and crude oil prices collapse Exxon closes
Colony II due to cost and poor demand Shell
continues in-situ experiments at Red Pinnacle and
labs through 1983 1985 Congress abolishes
Synthetic Liquid Fuels Program 1987 Shell
purchases Ertl-Mahogany and Pacific tracts in
Colorado Exxon sells Battlement Mesa for
retirement community 1991 Occidental closes C-b
tract project before first retort begins
operation Unocal closes Long Ridge after 5 MM
bbls and 10 years for operational issues and
losses. 1997 Shell tests in-situ heating on
Mahogany property defers further work on
economic basis. 2000 Shell returns to Mahogany
with expanded in-situ heating technology research
plan (ongoing)
Oil Shale.
  • Nature Semi-solid hydrocarbon (kerogen) found
    with 80-90non-organic material
  • Size enormous.130 billion bbl of oil
    equivalent in Green River shale (Rocky
    Mountains)..US has 62 of world supply
  • To produce bring to surface and retort (heating
    to 400 deg C) converts kerogen to crude
  • Issues.
  • Excavating issues
  • Generate large amount of depleted shale
  • Energy intensive
  • No commercial processes
  • http//www.emdaapg.org/Oil20Shale.htm

In-Situ Methods
  • True In Situ (TIS)
  • Fracture oil shale
  • Inject air
  • Ignite shale
  • Modified In Situ (MIS)
  • Mine above or below targeted shale deposit
  • Fill void with rubbished shale
  • Ignite shale
  • In Situ Conversion Process (ICP)
  • Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock
  • Drop heaters down the shafts
  • Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off

Schematic of In Situ Retorting.
From Shepherd and Shepherd, 1998
Shells ICP Technology
Shells ICP Technology
  • Freeze wall technology
  • Drill shafts 8-12 ft apart around perimeter of
    productive site
  • Put in piping
  • Pump refrigerants through
  • Freezes water in the ground around the shafts
  • Forms a 20- to 30-foot ice barrier around the

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Shells ICP Technology
ICP Advantages
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Reduction of costs in mining, transportation, and
  • Favorable energy balance
  • More desirable grade
  • Greater production depths
  • Extraction from leaner shale
  • Quick production drop

ICP Disadvantages
  • Large amount of water required
  • Time
  • Reliable heater technology
  • Heater durability

Economic Viability
Point of Profit EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested)
Ex Situ 70 95 per barrel 0.7 13.3
ICP gt 30 per barrel 3-4
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