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OF THE

COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES

PROCEEDINGS

OF THE
SEVENTH OIL SHALE SYMPOSIUM

VOLUME

69, NUMBER 2

APRIL 1974

QUARTERLY OF THE
COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES

Volume 69

April 1974

Number 2

PROCEEDINGS OF THE
SEVENTH OIL SHALE SYMPOSIUM
James H.

Gary, Editor

Seventh Oil Shale Symposium


Sponsored

Colorado School

by

American Institute
Metallurgical

and

of

of

Mines

Mining,

Petroleum Engineers

April 18-19, 1974

$6.00

Guy

T. McBride, Jr.
President

1974

by

and

the Colorado School

of Mines

Published quarterly
Second-class postage

Golden, Colorado 80401


paid at Golden, Colorado.

at

Printed in United States


Jon W.

Raese, Director
ii

of

of

America

Publications

CONTENTS
Foreword

Oil Shale-A Clean

Energy Source
Sidney Katell, Reid Stone, and

In Situ

Paul Wellman

Processing of Oil Shale

Richard D.

Ridley

21

The Superior Process for Development of Oil Shale


and

Associated Minerals

Ben Weichman
Oil Shale

25

Processing Methods

Thomas A. Hendrickson
Oil Shale

and

the

45

Energy Situation

Wayne E. Glenn
The Environmental

71

Story
79

H. Michael Spence

Colorado's Involvement in
of

Solving Environmental Problems

Oil Shale Development


85

John W. Rold
Water Prospects for the

Emerging Oil Shale Industry


93

Felix L. Sparks
Air Pollution Aspects

of

Proposed Oil Shale Development

in Northwestern Colorado

103

Lane W. Kirkpatrick

The Physical Background


Frank G.
Impacts

of

109

Cooley

Oil Shale: Boom

John S. Gilmore

and

or

Boon

Mary

K.

Duff

119

Western Colorado: Choices for Growth

125

Robert E. Giltner

Colorado Oil Shale

and

Water

Roland C. Fischer
Cultural Resources

of

133

Western Colorado

James J. Hester

Development

of

Harry C.

Colony

141

Technology for In

Carpenter

and

Situ Oil Shale Processes

Harold W. Sohns

143

Development Operation Room-and-Pillar Oil Shale Mining

Paul W. Marshall
Oil Shale: A Roadblock

171
and a

Solution

Clifton W. Livingston
Fischer

Assay of Oil

185

Shale Procedures

Lawrence Goodfellow
Rapid Determination

of

and

of

the Oil Shale Corporation

Mark T. Atwood

Recoverable Oil in Oil Shale

.205

by

Thermal Analysis

P. Robert

Reed, Jr.,

and

Philip

L. Warren

iv

221

FOREWORD
The Colorado School
recognition of the

Colorado
same

February 9, 1874,
funds for

Territory

Mines is observing its

of

the construction

year, the March 1874 issue

following

of

of

signing
of

the

in

year

centennial

bill appropriating

its first building. In that

Scientific American

the

contained

"About 800 miles west of Omaha the Union


Pacific Railroad crosses the Green River, and the approach to the river
is for a considerable distance through a
cutting node in rock. During the
construction of the road some workmen piled together a few pieces of
the excavated
the

stone

rock as protection

itself ignited.

Stone Cut. The

has

caused

which

by

place

dinner fire and soon observed that


thereafter became known as Burning
a

and

the railroad, Mr. T. E.

to be

experiments

made

with

Sickels,

this substance,

be a shale rock rich in mineral oils. The oil can be


distillation in abundant quantities, say 35 gallons to the ton
to

quality."

The

of rock.

The

for

general superintendent of

analyses

proves

produced

item:

news

oil

thus obtained is

of excellent

knowledge and that the first patent on oil shale


issued in 1694 (English Patent No. 33), the Seventh Oil

Despite the

above

processing was
Shale Symposium
the threshold
not

the

of

the

first time
to

shale oil

to the energy

from

being

oil shale.

This is

have felt "the time has

needs of

their country.

of petroleum and natural gas

In

on

for

view of

in the United States

the
and

energy requirements, there are many reasons to believe


the circumstances are in favor of the development of a shale oil

increasing

that

now

to

supplement

It is the

the

purpose of

to the development

of

liquid

disseminated.

participants

this

who

and gaseous

fuel

needs of

the

this Seventh Oil Shale Symposium to

this

industry by providing

problems and achievements of

value of

the United States

commercial production of oil

contribute

our

and

anticipation of

oil shale supporters

decreasing reserves

industry

held in

was

wish

through

to

the

workers

express

their

work

forum

in this field

appreciation
and

contribute

at which

the

be discussed

can

to the

presentations

country.

authors

and

establish

the

symposium.

Dr. James H. Gary


Vice President for Academic Affairs
Colorado School of Mines

OIL SHALE-A CLEAN ENERGY SOURCE

Sidney Katell1,

Reid Stone2,

and

Paul

Wellman3

ABSTRACT
The

need

to

time to satisfy
meet new or

is

not

take its

future.

higher

supplemental

but

definite

one of our most abundant

sources and
with

at

the

same

flexibility

to

toward the twenty-first century

requirement

for

today.

developed to

to be

needs

resources,

our nation

the usable reserves of our

place

among
High-grade oil

Colorado, Utah,
equivalent of

energy

standards as we move

desirable,

only

Shale oil,

develop

our present environmental standards

shales

energy supplies in the


found in the Green River formation in

Wyoming have been

and

600 billion barrels

of oil which

estimated

is

equal

to

contain

to the total

the

known

world reserves of oil.

Environmental
industrial

complex

This

and region.

the

concerns

but

the

are

broad

effect on

presentation

encompass

the surrounding

is focused

responsibilities of a potential

and

on

not

only the

socio-economic area

the industrial activities and on

developer.

INTRODUCTION
publication, Bureau of Mines Technical Progress Report
dated October 1971, presented a description of one of the processes

44,
that

previous

could

be

refined

to

system

was

used

to

produce

various

analyzed

operating costs,

and

convert oil shale

and

liquid

to

a product

products.

included the

selling price, based

The

that could

be further

economics

of

estimated

on a

capital

such

investment,

12-percent discounted

cash

Process Evaluation Group-MRED, Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of


the Interior, Morgantown, W. Va.
2Oil Shale Coordinator, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
^Chemical Engineer, Process Evaluation Group-MRED, Bureau of Mines, U.S.

xChief,

Department of the

Interior, Morgantown, W. Va.

Quarterly

flow

(DCF)

rate of return.

that evaluation

The
into

of the

Colorado School

The

the

size of

plant

of

that

Mines
was considered

100,000-barrel-per-calendar-day unit.
study for a 50,000-barrel-per-calendar-day

in

was a

present

account the

increased

costs

due to

in the economy

changes

takes

plant

and some

by the Final Environmental Statement for


the Prototype Oil Shale Leasing Program. Consideration is given to the
removal of hydrogen sulfide
( H2S ) from the retort gas and for the solid
factors introduced

additional

waste

and

disposal

problem associated with

The study is

still

development

( R&D )

identified
will

be

as

of an

An

day

for

program.

changes

Therefore,

does indicate that

some modifications will

that may exist at other

additional

be necessary

locations.

processing complex consisting of a mine, a retorting plant,


a refinery proposed for the production of 50,000 barrels per calendar
of a semirefined oil will require a capital investment of $279,450,100.
the

are

equipment

struction

(plants),

working

produce

of

interest

capital

and

chemicals

during

and

87.304 tons

per stream

the refinery at DeBeque.

catalyst,

development

have been taken into

day

or

for mining,

installation

equipment

and

DeBeque, Colo.,

retorting, pipelining to
In addition, the costs

to

estimate

the mining concept and

oil shale

Included

and

both in

area considered

leasing

allow

and

since additional research

for the mining and processing would be typical


installation in Colorado, but it is not at either of the two sites chosen

for the
to

preliminary

required

in the processing system, but the


R&D is warranted.

The

the operation of the plant.

interest

(mine),

account.

The

78,574 tons

during

con

startup expenses,
is designed

mine

per calendar

day

of

assaying 30 gallons of oil per calendar day. A block diagram


1973
the total complex is shown in figure 1. Costs are based on

raw oil shale

of

mid-

indexes.

The total
coke,

operating cost,

and sulfur produced as

price of

annual

the oil

would

after

taking

credit

for the ammonia,

byproducts,

is

$59,620,000,

barrel

at

the plant, after

be $5.66

per

and

the selling

allowing for

12-percent DCF.

The 100,000-barrel

report

was

reevaluated

fications listed for the 50,000-barrel plant,

incorporating

the

modi

the selling price, again


has increased from the original $3.74
and

allowing for a 12-percent DCF,


to $5.15 per barrel. Tables showing the capital cost summary, annual
discounted cash flow have been included in this paper.
operating cost, and
after

A brief description
calendar-day

plant.

of

the processing

follows for the 50,000-barrel-per-

Oil Shale

A Clean Energy Source

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53

U
I

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a O
at

IS

uat

at

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

of

Mines

MINE
Development

The

development

mine

be

will

three headings

by driving

started

from the outcrop into the top bench of the minable section of the oil shale
seam. The headings will be 30 feet wide by 31 feet high with 60-foot

barriers between headings. One


the
will

center

be

heading

be

turned and

be

headings

clear of

be the

main return

belt haulage way, and the other


haulway for men and supplies.

any weathering along the

will consist of

three

outcrop.

in

entries similar

The

airway,

heading

feet the development headings

that at 600

assumed

will

the

the intake airway and

It is

ment

will

heading

be

can

develop

function

size and

to

headings. The production panels will start operations as soon as


the development has advanced the required distance. It is estimated that
200 days will be required to open the first panel.
the

main

General Mining Plan


The mining
of

the

this

is to

mine are reached.

the

system

ventilation

mine

The left

be

will

haulage

and

the

mine

the working

Also,

time.

plan

area

the

limits

the retreat.

With

mine until

mined on

production

in the

shortest possible

be concentrated, better

will

will

be

side will

full

at

the

right side of

and

result,

general

of

control

supervision

will

be

enhanced.

Sufficient
The

crews will

places

be

be

will

provided

The
a

heading

wide.

around

Sixty-foot

and

by

1,020 feet

28-foot bench

square

the necessary tonnage.

scaling

and

bolting

trucks.

1,860

production panels are

33-foot

60 feet

and

load

heading jumbo,

equipped with a

rig, bulldozer, front-end loader,

to

pillars,

and are mined

road.

using

The headings

regularly spaced,

are

are

left for

A ramp will provide haulageway from the bench round to the


haulage level. Production panels will be equipped with a heading

support.

main

jumb,

bench jumbo, scaling

loaders,

and

The
panel.

be

crushers

discharge to

roof will

be

main

wil

60-inch belt

haulage belt

supported

by

be left between
Ventilation will be provided

barriers

rigs,

bulldozers, front-end

transported to portable crushers at the mouth of the

the ore to the 60-inch

The

bolting

trucks.

ore will

The

and

roof

panels and

by

conveyor which

transports

conveyor.

bolts

on

6-foot

development

centers.

on main

1,000,000-cfm dual fans

Sixty-foot

headings.
at

the

main

Oil Shale

Direction

portals.

the airflow is controlled

of

Portable blowers

and overcasts.

A Clean Energy Source

tubing

with

by

crosscuts, regulators,

provide

ventila

secondary

tion.

CRUSHING AND SCREENING PLANT


The
at

the crushing plant.

provide

is

24-hour

conveyed

day,

stream

shale

the

is

run-of-mine shale

The

3,638 tons

The

crusher

per stream

to the receiving hoppers

directly

underground

surge storage.

to the primary
or

conveyed

concrete

hoppers

are

to

sized

from the bottom of the hoppers


feed bin at the rate of 87,304 tons per
shale

hour.

Six conveyors, 42 inches wide by 200 feet long, are required. The
is dumped into six parallel feed bins sized for 30-minute holdup. From

feed bins

crushers
shale

the

The

is fed

vibratory feeders to the primary gyratory


is reduced to minus 10.5 inches. The crushed

the size

where

is then

shale

conveyed

from the

by

to 24-hour

surge storage.

hoppers is transported to the secondary


crusher feed bins by six 42-inch belt conveyors
operating in parallel. From
the double hopper bottom feed bins the shale passes over grizzly bar
ore

storage

(4.5-inch openings) to the secondary gyratory crushers. The minus


4.5-inch material (47 percent of the total) falls through the screens, and

screens

the plus 4.5-inch


minus

fraction is fed to

4.5 inches. The

shale

the crushers

where

it is

from the crushers, along

in

reduced

the

with

size

to

undersize

from the screens, is then conveyed to the tertiary crusher feed bins.
The shale from the tertiary crusher feed bins is fed by vibratory
feeders over grizzly bar screens (3-inch openings) to the crushers. Sixty-

five
is

crushed

the
to

percent of

to

the

is fed to the
most, but

all,

feeds

The double-deck
screen and
screens are

screens, along
and the

in the

splitter

not

screens and

surge storage

of

the

directly

hoppers,
screen

fines,
to the

so

the

fed

with

minus

by
the

house. The

surge

screens remove

percent

plant.

retorts

of

is then

conveyed

day

of shale

the

bypasses the

retorting

material

The

shale

plant.

through the

3/16-inch fraction through the bottom

vibratory feeders.

from

can accommodate

the shale

the minus 1-inch

remainder

product

per stream

bin for feed to

from the top

screen.

of

the

bypass shale, is transported to the retorting plant,

fines from the screens, 3,420 tons

briquetting

screens

86,400 tons

65

The

crushers.

along with the undersize from the


storage bins sized for 72-hour holdup.

From the

The

3 inches in the gyratory

minus

crushers

surge

top

through the screens, and the

shale passes

per stream

day,

are sent

to the

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

Mines

of

BRIQUETTING PLANT
The fines

20-inch belt

the

mills

feeder is

pan

hammer

horizontal

used

is

forces

to

size

number

from the

material

by

conveyor

14-mesh.

minus

(binder). The

mixed with crude shale oil

the

on a

2. A vibratory
to two parallel double-paddle

bin

surge

milled shale

it is

number

vibratory feeders to

by

in

reduced

to

bin

surge

is then fed

it is

conveyed

feed the

mixers where

action of the paddles

shale

mills where

shale

to

briquetting

to the

The fine

conveyor.

three parallel

From the

are conveyed

mixers and

it falls into

briquetting machines.

the

The briquettes
are conveyed

are sent

back to the

feed

retort

to

bin

surge

number

and

then

conveyor.

RETORT PLANT
The retorting plant, consisting
close

56-foot-diameter units,

of six

will

be

to the mine.

The

from

shale

briquetting
One belt

bins

the 3-hour surge

plant are

fed

briquettes from

the

and

feed hoppers

to the retort

(atop

tripper is

conveyor equipped with an automatic

the

used

the

retorts).

feed

to

the

retorts.

The

discharge

and

Cameron

retorts are equipped with

The

mechanisms.*

feeding

Jones improved

and

discharge

and

described in detail in The Colorado School of Mines


no.

in

3, July 1965,
Each

and produces

86,242,000
tons

day

per stream

The

shale

bed in the

per square

zone

to the

the

the

shale

to the

Reference to
standing

retorts

at the

is

top

and

bed,

maximum

specific
not

day

60,

Symposium.

of

shale

of crude shale

low-Btu gas,

maintained at a
of

the

makes

imply

or

area,

the retort.

and

and

oil,

11,160

models

of

preheated

at a rate of
moves

approximately

by

the

500

off gases

pounds per

through the

preheat

The combustors, near the mid


gas burned with air to heat

of about

recycled

endorsement

is

depth

low-Btu

temperature
the

unit

The shale,

use recycled

percent of

does

of excess

of cross-sectional

combustion zone of

About 82

foot

shale

day

stream

per stream

day

per

retort combustion zone.

hour

point of

feet

per

v.

of spent shale.

18 feet. The fresh feed

from the

9,693 barrels

standard cubic

Quarterly,

to the Second Oil Shale

14,361 tons

processes

retort

briquettes

a paper presented

feeding

mechanisms are

of

by

gas

1,300F.

is fed to the bottom

equipment

is

the Bureau of

made

to

Mines.

facilitate

of

the

under

Oil Shale
is

retort and

discharge. The
fed

directly
The

to

used

the

The

removal, to supply

flows

to

is

for

fuel

is fed to

oil,
of

separation

to storage tanks at the retorting

pumped

compressed

other plant

for

either

recycle

after

or,

sulfur

requirements.

60-inch

a common

belt for dis

conveyor

a canyon.

from the retorts, 58,161 barrels

crude shale oil

by

prior

with entrained crude shale

electrostatic precipitators

is then

is

gas

spent shale

The

to approximately 200F

the retorts,

of

and

crude

The low-Btu

into

top

rotoclones

gases and oil.

charge

spent shale

remainder of the recycled gas with the combustion air

from

gases

The

the

cool

to the combustors.

flow through
site.

A Clean Energy Source

pipeline

to the refinery storage tanks

day,

per stream

DeBeque, Colorado.

near

HYDROGEN SULFIDE REMOVAL FROM


EXCESS RETORT GAS
It is

proposed

consists of

two

to

for H2S

use activated carbon

carbon absorbers used

alternately

The

removal.

and six

system

identical tanks,

along with solution regeneration and sulfur recovery equipment.


The sour gas, from which the oil has been removed, is passed through
tower

carbon
small

amount

number

Hi>S in the treated gas, the


tower number 1 is regenerated.

of

and

Regeneration is
ammonium

1. When the bed is saturated,

number

The

monium sulfide recovery.


number

until

the

number

tanks 2 through

The

carbon.
vapors

cumulated

tank

The

dissolving
1

This

is then

treatment

is

and

number

5 from

in the bed from tank


solution.

A few

drained

repeated with solution

relatively

is ready for further

where

they

am

residual

the solution is

contacts

solution

steamed and

percent solution of

immersed in

are

is fed to tower

bed for

pumped

the sulfur,

that the last

extraction

in tank

content of about
number

solution

layers

is first

by

from

sulfur

service.

condenser

are pumped

to

and

free
The
ac

solution

4.

After the

tank

so

solution

15

the steaming treatment are sent to the

in tank

number

solution

4,

carbon

from

carbon

for

minutes are allowed

back into tank

by extraction with
by steaming of the

followed

sulfide

gas

sour

carried out

as evidenced

process

has been

repeated

several

times,

the

1 becomes saturated; this is indicated at a sulfur


2 pounds per gallon. The saturated solution is pumped to

number

6 from

is heated

where

with

it flows

steam

and

by

gravity to the

the

polysulfides

overhead vapors are condensed and accumulated

evaporator.
are

The

decomposed.

in tank

number

5.

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

The

solid sulfur

The

water and sulfur are separated

to 85

long

The

tons

in

water

day,

per

purified gas

is

is

from

removed

in

of

bottom

the

Mines
of

the

evaporator.

The sulfur, amounting

a centrifuge.

stored and sold.

from

the carbon towers is

used as plant

fuel.

SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL SYSTEM


A retaining dam
prevent

direct

be

will

water runoff

constructed

into the local

below the

watershed.

be furnished for working


A drainge ditch will be dug around the

and a road patrol will

vent

surface

water

falls

water which

After

directly on

sufficient

for

ground

percolation

the pile

could

it is

be

bulldozers

compacting the
to

pile

shale

to

pile.
pre

Therefore, only

rain

contaminated.

completed

proposed

two

Also,

spent

through the pile.

mining has been

disposal,

waste

and

spent shale pile

to afford space

to slurry the

spent

under

shale

and

pump it back to the worked-out areas underground. It has been estimated


that 60 to 70 percent of the spent shale could be returned to the mine using
a

disposal

area.

It is

be

The

to

be necessary, however, to maintain a surface


the retaining dam is included in plant facilities.

would

cost of

anticipated

used without

an aid

It

system.

slurry

that

treatment

within

the

compaction of spent shale or

ing disposal

operations.

However,

or other outside water systems.

treatment

in slurrying the

treatment

quired should operational upsets or

such

behind the retaining dam can


processing complex, for example, as

water collected

spent material

of such water would

downtimes

Consequently,

require release

an allowance

is

to

dur

be

re

streams

made

for

under catalyst and chemical.

REFINERY
The
crude

is

is

crude oil
preheated

separated

into

from
in

storage

furnace
50

about

is

charged

enroute

percent

to

distillation

to a

column.

distillation. The

heavy fraction (bottoms)

The

crude charge
and

50

per

fraction (overhead). The overhead product is cooled and


depropanized to yield a distillate product, about 27,550 barrels per stream
day. The uncondensed gases, consisting of C3 and lighter gases, are used

cent

as

vapor

described later.
The bottoms from

furnace to the delayed coking


prior

to

being

the cokers,

charged

coker

flow through

the distillation column


units.

to the coking

distillate,

is

The feed is

preheated

drums. The

cooled and

product

depropanized

preheat

to about 940 F

from the top

and

then,

of

together

Oil Shale

distillation overhead, is

the

with

from the drums, 855 tons


crackers operate at
about

A Clean Energy Source

60

835

1,500 psig

and

fuel. The liquid hydrogenated


The

from

gas streams

follows:
hydrogen sulfide from the

an

ammonia-

gas.

The

is

off

traces

remove

pressurized

monia

(137.75 tons
for

to

the

produce

for hydrogen

day)

the

is

plant

coking,

and

dis

recoverable

The

streams

to remove the

used

is then heated to

scrubbed with sulfuric


sulfide

is

reacted with

per calendar

The

sale.

which

hydrogen
is

generation

manner), the

day)

ammonia-

which

water solu

is cooled, condensed,

result

conversion

am
and

treating section is
for hydrocracking. The

to

gas

produce

hydrocarbons in the

involves two

76

percent of

->

-*

the gas.

gas react

in

an

steps:

CO + 3H2

(1)
(2)

C02 + H2

being

CH4 + 2H20
reaction

needed

converted

( other

CO +H20
the overall

from the

available with complete conversion of

CH4 + H20

The first

for

washed gas

methane as an example

analogous

for

heated to 330 F to liberate the

and

per calendar

hydrogen theoretically

with

is

The hydrogen

and stored

to 230 psig

percent of

steam reformed

Using

The

in liquid form.

sale

About 89

the

range.

storage.

sulfide and ammonia.

water wash

hydro-

containing

are used

for recovery, the

(42.75 tons

sulfur

hot liquid

tion is

gas used

to

pumped

sulfide which

of ammonia.

Claus kiln to form

recovered as a

stored

removal,

coke

distillate gases, and a water wash is


hydrogen sulfide from the hydrogenation

hydrogen

the

The

sale.

boiling

combined ammonia-hydrogen sulfide solution

170F to drive

The

coker and

to extract the ammonia and

in

for

hydrogenation, delayed

used

air

is

hydrogen

of

stored

gasoline

sulfur

product

the

being in the form

are processed as

to

is

contain sulfur and nitrogen available

materials

acid

for

hydrogenation.

to

and produce a product

in the

treatment

after

gases,

day,

per calendar

volume percent material

uncondensed

tillation

charged

takes

place

->

C02 + 4H2

in tubes

at

50 psig

(3)
and

1400 to 1500F

steam. The endothermic heat of reaction


using a nickel catalyst and excess
is supplied by burning retort gas in the furnace surrounding the tubes.

The hydrogen

800F,

as

hydrogen

yield

is increased

illustrated
purification

cracker units.

by

by

the catalytic water-gas conversion at

the second equation.

before

compression and

A hypersorber is

used

for

introduction into the hydro

10

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

CAPITAL INVESTMENT
A summary
the

capital

buy and install the


stream day of oil shale is

per

catalyst

and

expense,

and

for

the estimated

mine and

tons

the

of

shown

The total

capital.

working

equipment

required

necessary to

in table 1.

to

develop
87,304

process

Included

development

during

interest

chemicals,

investment

are

initial

(mine), startup

estimated capital

investment

for

50,000-barrel-per-day plant is $279,450,100. The same information


the 100,000-barrel-per-day plant which has an estimated capital in
$522,375,400 is

vestment of

shown

in table 2.

the refinery processing units, except for distillation and


information. This consists of the
delayed coking, are based on "black
cost of equipment and utilities required, but not the number, size, or

The

cost of

box"

type

arrangement and

of

Table

the individual items of equipment.

1Capital

investment summary

50,000-barrel-per-calendar-day
Mine (initial

Retort

plant

$15,602,300

investment only1)

plant:

67,074,300

Retorting
Crushing and
Briquetting
Refinery

11,104,600
1
2,950,700
2,922,400
71

Utilities

42,149,200

Faci 1 i ties

14,218,900

Solid

Total

sulfide

removal

catalyst

plant

Interest

and

during

construction

Interest during development

Startup

expenses

(pi ant)

Subtotal for depreci ati on


Worki ng

Total
-i

capi

tal

capital

,854

,500

and

tax

(plant)

base)

234,736,600
10,956,700

(mine)

468,100

7,450,600
253

,612

,000

25.838.100

investment

Deferred capital

,800

5,553,900

chemicals

(insurance

cost

,305

229,182,700

construction

Initial
Total

disposal

waste

Hydrogen

screening

279,450,100

investment shown on Discounted Cash Flow table.

Oil Shale
Table

A Clean Energy Source

2.Capital

investment summary

100,000-barrel-per-calendar-day
(initial investment

Mine

Retort

11

plant

$31,901,400

only1)

plant:

Retorting
Crushing and
Briquetting
Solid

Hydrogen

screening

,731

disposal

waste

133,365,900
21,577,500
1
5, 835, SCO
5,840,900

sulfide

systei.i

removal

Refinery

,500

124,248,000

Uti 1 i ties

80

Facilities

24,564,100

Total

Total

catalyst

plant

Interest

and

during

construction

Interest during development

Startup

expenses

11,110,300

chemicals

(insurance

cost

and

tax

440,214,900

base)

(plant)

20,415,700

(mine)

950,100

(plant)

13,882,700

Subtotal for depreciation

Working

,500

429,104,600

construction

Initial

,039

475,463,400
46,912,000

capital

522,375,400

Iltef erred

capital

investment

shown on

Discounted Cash Flow

table.

An

allowance of

capital requirements
assumes a

The

2-year

construction period.

cost of

compressed
ministrative

plant

$7,450,600 is included for startup expense. Working


are detailed in table 3. Interest during construction

providing steam, power, cooling water, sanitary water,


air, etc., is included in plant utilities. The cost of ad
buildings, roads, fences, rolling stock, etc., is also included in

facilities. A summary

of

utility

and

facility

costs

is

given

in table 4.

12

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

of

Mines

3.-

Table

Working capital
50,000-barrel-per-calendar-day plant
Cash

Accounts

receivable

Inventory

30 CD operating

cost...

$5,167,600

90 CD operating

cost...

15,502,900

30 CD operating

cost...

5,167,600

Total

1001

25

includes $5,380,300

for the

,838,

mine.

OPERATING COST
See table 5 for
the

25

the

raw water

mines,

surance, royalty,

872,700 before
summary
per

of

for the

payroll

and

credit

overhead,

35

catalyst

payroll

percent of

and

labor,

are

costs

the

for

costs

overhead

for

payroll

chemicals,

taxes, in

depreciation. The annual operating cost is $62,for the byproducts and $58,620,000 after credit. A

the estimated

day plant

plants and

annual

charges,

operating

Included in operating

plant.

administration and general

the

percent of

of the estimated annual

summary

50,000-barrel-per-day

labor supervision,
of

annual

operating

costs

for the

100,000-barrel-

is found in table 6.

A summary

of

byproduct

credits

is

shown

in table 7.

UNIT COST
A breakdown

of capital and

cessing systems,

including

hydrogen

removal,

sulfide

$18,045,700
required
per

of

daily

for

of

barrel

partially

of

refining, is

and

$3,519,400

considerations.

capacity,

refined crude.

cost charges

mining, retorting,

the capital and

ecological

operating

and

solid

shown

of

The

to the

waste

disposal

in table 8.

the annual
capital

major pro

A total

operating

amounts

the operating cost is 19.3 cents

and

costs

of

is

to $360.91
per

barrel

Oil Shale

13

A Clean Energy Source

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14

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

5.Estimated annual

Table

of

operating

50,000-barrel-per-calendar-day

Mines

cost

plant

$164,700

Natural gas
Water use charge...

...390

gDh

8,760 hr/yr

Annual catalyst and chemicals


Direct labor, plant
Direct labor supervision, plant
Maintenance labor, plant
Maintenance labor supervision, plant
Maintenance materials, plant, 100% of
Di rect 1 abor , mi ne
Direct labor supervision, mine
Maintenance labor, mine
Maintenance labor supervision, mine

Operating
Operating

$0.026/M

ot}

,273

,500

?q ?nn
htc

7nn

oci onn
^51,200
maintenance

labor..

3,075,700
07I 'cnn
375,500
1,323,700
124,200
6,198,400

of

labor...

665,400

supervision).

1,624,900

plant maintenance

plant...

...(25%

of

plant

labor

and

overhead, mine...
...(35%

of mine

labor

and

supervision)..

Admi ni strati on and general overhead


Taxes (land valued at $l,000/acre, 4 sq mi ) , 68 mills
per dollar of value
Taxes on improvements, mine, at 68 mills per dollar
on 1/3 of investment
Insurance, mine, at 2% of investment
Taxes (retorting, crushing and screening, briquetting,
H2S removal, solid waste disposal, and interplant
pipelines), at 68 mills per dollar on 1/3 of investment
Insurance (retorting, etc.), at 2% of investment
Taxes (refinery), at 68 mills per dollar on 1/3
of investment
Insurance, refinery, at 2% of investment

Royalty,

$0.12/ton

at

of

shale

mined

ati on

Annual operating
Byproduct
Net

oS'SX

plant...
...20%

Depreci

onn

gal...

supplies, mine
supplies,

Payroll overhead,

Payroll

annual

cost

174,100
452,200
398,900

2,394,000
2,112,400
2,474,500
2,183,400
3,400,200
17,452,500

58,620,000

$62,872,700

18,250,000
After credit,

,800

4,252,700

credit

Cost/barrel of oil
Before credit,

673

62,872,700

cost

operating

2,220,800
1

$58,620,000

18,250,000

*0

t~

nc

$3-45
01
$3'21

Oil Shale

A Clean Energy Source

6.Estimated annual

Table

cost

operating

100,000-barrel-per-calendar-day

15

plant

Annual

Annual

catalyst

...720

gph x

and

8,760

Maintenance labor,

hr/yr

supplies,

mine

supplies,

plant

plant

maintenance

labor)

(20% of plant maintenance labor)


(25% of plant labor and

plant

overhead,

gal

plant

Maintenance labor supervision, plant


Maintenance materials, plant (100% of
Direct labor, mine
Direct labor supervision, mine
Maintenance labor, mine
Maintenance labor supervision, mine

Payroll

$0.025/M

chemicals

Direct labor, plant


Direct labor supervision,

Operating
Operating

164,000
6,557,000
4,344,500
596,200
5,224,300
463,700
5,224,300
7,747,100
563,200
1,799,100
372,600
12,396,700
1,137,600
2,657,200
3,668,700

supervision)

Payroll overhead, mine (35% of mine labor and supervision)


Administration and general overhead
Taxes (land value of $l,000/acre, 6 square miles)
at 68 mills per dollar of valuation
Taxes on improvement at mine at 68 mills/dollar on 1/3
of investment
Insurance, mine, at 2% of investment
Taxes (retorting, crushing and screening, briquetting.
H2S removal, solid waste disposal, and interplant
pipelines) at 68 mills/dollar on 1/3 of investment
Insurance (retorting, etc.) at 2% of investment
Taxes (refinery) at 68 mills/dollar on 1/3 of investment
Insurance, refinery, at 2% of investment
Depreciation

56,670,265

Royalty
Annual

operating

Byproduct

tpy

$0.12/ton

Cost/barrel

of

t
5J'13

eo on
$2*89

36,500,000

7.Byproduct credit

Table

50,000-barrel-per-calendar-day
Sulfur (retort gas)
.85

,500

oil

$105,500,900

Annual Credit
x

365 CD/yr

Coke

855 t/CD

365 CD/yr

Total

t/CD

$20/ton

365 CD/yr

42.75 t/CD

.137.75

plant

t/CD

Sulfur

..

4,740,300
4,182,700
4,324,300
3,815,500
32,162,500
6,800,400

105,500,900

cost

After credit,

Ammonia

913,600
806,100

8,651

$114,152,400
36,500,000

261,100

114,152,400

cost

Before credit,

2,900,300

credit

Net operating

cost

5329,400

Natural gas
Water use charge.

$20/ton...

$5

365 CD/yr

620,400
312,100
1,560,400

$35/ton.

1,759,800

$4,252,700

Quarterly

16

of the

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Oil Shale

17

A Clean Energy Source

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS
Table 9 is

based

on a

financial

analysis

12-percent discounted

for

cash

the

flow

50,000-barrel-per-day

plant

rate of return which

takes into

(both before

and after

account the present value of capital expenditures

startup) and the present value of the positive cash flow after depreciation
is taken. A selling price for the oil of $5.66 per barrel is required to
balance the present value of the positive cash flows, using 12 percent com
pound and

the

discount factors

100,000-barrel-per-day

and a

unit,

20-year life. The

and a

selling

same

price of

information for

$5.15

per

barrel,

is

indicated in table 10.

The depletion
assumed value

allowance used

for the

in the financial

crude shale oil of

$2.80

per

analysis

barrel.

is based

on an

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II

Oil Shale

A Clean Energy Source

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IN SITU PROCESSING OF OIL SHALE

Richard D.

Processing
has

tion

from this

long

Mining
dramatically less,
have to be less,

processing

of

dream

the

immense

the ore

and

hope for large-scale

and

as

several

systems.

and

failure

times

result

point

alone

been tried in

between
success,

know,

in

situ

oil

is

shale

this

to

closely

such as

being

But in

Accepting

to

no

almost

Some

wells.

we concluded

modified

tightly

in-situ

packed

facts

process

of negligible

consists

but broken

and subsequent

breakage

for

in tight

flow

gas and oil

technical

fractures,
even

porosity

and

would

yield

situ process

of

oil shale

of

caused the

limited

this

met

has

techniques have

paths

attempt was gas

the

overcome

and

For

and

partially

negligible.

that a modified in

advantages

projected

flow

for

prospect

is it found in

which

fracturing

maintain combustion

known

had any

no

commercial success.

alone,

conventional

obvious

was also

essentially
Development Company has taken

and

the

to

recoverable

and aboveground

a porous rock nor

controllable and oil yields were

Garrett Research

which

create adequate

spaced
able

not

factor,

tests. Most

an attempt

produce some oil.

mining

Until recently the disadvantage

even

approach.

advantages were

increase the

would

over more conventional

formations. It is

of most

oil produc

materials handling would be


be left underground, the costs would
lower grade ores could be processed

had successfully demonstrated a method


high yields and low costs, the essential keys
permeable

in-situ

the total

one

as most of you

The

oil shale reserves.

as

spent shale would

The latter

economically.

by

been

nations

obvious.

reserves

in its existing formationreferred to

of oil shale

processing

Ridley

proven

creating

by

overlying

oil shale

by

different

permeability,

many

the

of

disadvantages.

underground

mining the

The

chimneys

of

required void volume

the

use of conventional

explosives.

In its

simplest

form,

the Garrett

process consists of

three basic

(1) a limited amount of conventional mining; (2) blasting of


lying oil shale to form the retort, and (3) retorting in place,
Manager, OH Shale Research,
Junction, Colo.

Garrett Research

21

and

Development

the

steps:

over

normally

Company, Grand

22

Quarterly

in NTU

air and underground combustion as

using

the

creates

step

Colorado School

of the

lying

the

to

zone

oil shale

the surface,

in the form

void volume

it may

where

be

The

retorted.

be

either

The mining

retorting.

underlying or over
mined is conveyed to

room

rock

step in the

second

added

or

and vegetated

stacked

The

other mined shale and retorted.

of a

Mines

of

to

consists

process

drilling vertical longholes from the mined-out room, either up or down


or both, loading those holes with ANFO and detonating that explosive

of

with appropriate

timing delays

to fill the

entire

volume, that

volume of

the

the

top

is, both the


before blasting. Finally,

rock

bottom

and

through the

rock

aid of an outside

fuel

ward

the

retorts

left
the

the

on

Part

top

incoming
or

air and

drains

Field

produce shale
carbon

simple

testing

chimneys with

of

low

be formed

drop. In
Bureau

of

in

control

the

the Garrett

Mines has

top

with

the

released

required

fuel. The

additional

it is

in

collected

excess of

fuel.

concentration

gas not recycled

significantly in

process started

demonstrating

the

retorted

subsequently

first tests

run at

overall

in

mid-

in
oil

sump

is burned

with

the plant's needs.

by

another

showing that

average particle size

efficiently

are scaleups of

Laramie. In

1972. Initially, the

concept

relatively large

void volumes and

and

the

the oxygen

retort where

The

the

and a residual carbon

part of

needed

down

concept.

sense, these

one

of

to both

circulated

at

the

and

room

The heat

hours.
gas,

becomes

then

this gas provides

bottom

Air is

is initiated

some

oil,

the

spreads out

connections are made

a matter of

underground storage.

were aimed at

could

for

power generation

is

process

to the

to

for

a potential

tests

and combustion

source

This

shale.

and pumped

The

to

shale

pile,

of

volume

carried out.

the off gas is recirculated to

of

flows

retorting is

and

breaks,

that the rock, as it

so

with a

low

NTU retorts,
sense,

pressure

such as

the

however, they

are

different in that they are formed underground and the


geometry is completely different. The NTU retort is a tall, narrow

dramatically
reactor
vessel

having

system

may

relatively

also

small

be tall but

must

cross section.

have

from the formation. The Bureau's


void volume

blasting
target a

distribution

technique must
maximum of

15

tem represent a scaleup


number

contained

average void volume

Fischer
in

assay.

with

retort

40 to 45

distribute

large

The

retorts

cross section

loading

system

percent void

the mined

in the Garrett

for high

yields

assures an even

volume;

the Garrett

void volume and

has

as

its

Even so, the first tests of the Garrett sys


20 to 40 times the largest NTU retort. Retort

percent.
of

3,000 to 4,000 tons


and produced over

Twelve-hundred barrels

of

60

broken

shale

at

25

percent oil yield

of oil were

percent

based

on

collected and placed

storage.

A few

other

interesting

points

can

be

reported

on

this

particular

In Situ Processing
The

experiment.

drilling
2 feet

into it

rock

broken

mass

five locations

at

60 feet thick

was

showed

23

Oil Shale

of

that

subsequent

and

to

rubble existed

1 to

within

top, that is, the rock broke as expected and


bulked full. Reactor temperatures, gas yields, and the retorting advance
of

the anticipated

agreed, to

rate

modeling

of

a great

the complete

as expected with

recycled,

2 to 4

we were able

operations could and


used

did

swered

seal

gas

hydrogen, light hydro

being

produced

the retort adequately so that

Carbon

normal

and

mining

monoxide monitors were

breadth

new

location,

and width

all

been

an

scaleup to commercial
prepare a 250-foot high retort

now on

We will, in 1974,
of over 100 feet each.

the existing test site, and

near

have

feasibility

process

the emphasis is

and

affirmatively

first

to

critical questions related

with

will

This

be

room

mined

will

be

at a

essentially

as

commercial room.

Lets turn
situ

this noxious

mathematical

gas produced was almost

as well as some

proceed safely.

size underground retorts.

in

with

by

key locations.

in

The

the

CO

percent

to

The

reaction system.

Even

inerts.

and

carbons

with predictions arrived at

extent,

our

processing

attention

to the

now

and compare

them

original

with

this

list

for

of advantages

process as

presently

being

developed.

(1)

A true in
process

greatly
eliminate it. In

be

The Garrett

situ process would eliminate all mining.

the

reduces

fact,

the

mining

required

but does

not

mine planned on our present site will

large mining operation by almost any standard even though


it will be far smaller than more conventional planned oil shale
a

mines.

(2)

Spent

is left

shale

nature

of

the

underground

process

requires

essentially tight so that the


isolated. Extensive leaching
saline minerals

so

(3)

that there is

am not

vious

deposition

free to discuss

the

that

spent
will

not

reduced

retort

is

confined

and

kept

In addition, the

location

was minimal

for leaching.

economics, but it

mining

The very
chimneys be

process.

occur.

at our present

process

aboveground

the

shale

not much potential

that a greatly

most of

in the Garrett

should

be

ob

operation and elimination of

retorting facilities has the

potential

for

reduced costs.

(4)

lower than for mining and aboveground


lower grade ores eco
systems, it becomes possible to process
Our present site has a 60- to 80-foot seam of oil
nomically.

Because the

shale

costs are

averaging 25

gallons per

ton;

and yet we are

proceeding

Quarterly

24

250 feet in height. Much

with a room

contains

in

10 to 15

yield

industry

low-grade

amount of

reasonable

Because
pillar

the added

of

mining,

several

a given

be

been demonstrated

being

commercial

scaled

process

work

ahead

scale-up.

hurdles that have the

does
situ

With

to

can

be

This

will

be

be

retorts can
rooms

pillars

160

by

between

ac

160

rooms,

room and pillar mining.

70

obtain

percent of

some

most, but

processing

possible
unforseen

we

do

date.

of

the

oil

all,

of

the

field

It has

conditions

reaching fullscale
There is a lot of

problems

not now see

for making the

not

of oil shale.

under actual

the objective

with

Nevertheless,
potential

believe it is

totally feasible.

the earliest
and

large

of

yields of

relatively large basis

at

in-place to

location

given

systems.

40-foot

work,

for in

up rapidly

operations

development
in the

on a

other

comparable

appear

expected advantages projected

we

over conventional room and

spacing

of our present

chimney,

Admittedly,

processed

rate, but

yields obtained.

would

In summary, the Garrett

arise

close

and width and

in

it is

for

projected

feet in breadth
On the basis

and

height

high

loss

not even considered ore

and economically.

complished and

the pillars

additional oil shale

this

be

rock must

recovery from

true, however, only if

Mines

of

reserve calculations.

retort

overall

times that

of

is

and

oil-production

feasible, both technically

(5)

ton

gallons per

government and

large

Colorado School

of the

will

probably

any technological

process unattractive.

THE SUPERIOR PROCESS FOR

DEVELOPMENT OF OIL SHALE AND


ASSOCIATED MINERALS

Ben Weichman
THE SUPERIOR PROCESS
Oil

shale which contains

processed

in

one

a substantial and
and

integrated

both

of

locally

which, in part,

devastating

Oil

low

if

These

Nitrogen

partial

grated process can


minimum

and

disturbance

simultaneously

offsets

process more

air,

bicarbonate,

be

contradicts a recent
of shale will

water and wildlife

may

can

be

than

soda ash and aluminum

also

be

produced as

benefit.

the individual

by

process.

because

the environment.

closed-cycle, noncontaminating

and maximum

into

processed

called environmental products

a net enhancement of

be

have

of

processing

dawsonite

refining is included in the


in

This

and

land,

and elemental sulfur

products could

use would result

will

be

energy

containing nahcolite
fuel oil, natural sodium

compounds.

the total

other

any

the

on

shale

sulfur

products

of

impact

can

domestic energy
The beneficial impact would be

"mining

quotes

that

produce products

the availability

on

dawsonite

nahcolite and

as well as nationally.

news article

the recovery

to

the environment.

have

a more

operation

beneficial impact

the upgrading

experienced

the minerals

Processing

costs of each

This inte

operation

all

their

with

three minerals

product, thus making

economically desirable than development for

shale

oil only.

The Superior
operation.

The

generalized

conveniently be shown as a six-step


in the process are shown in figure 1.

process can most

steps as

they

description

occur

of each

step is

understand

necessary.

The

oil

follows, beginning

with

Step

I.

Mining

Step I:
To

as

the mining plan, a brief resume of the geology is


shale beds in the Piceance Creek Basin occur in the

The Superior Oil Company, Houston, Texas.

25

26

Quarterly

of the

>

Q
Z
3

Colorado School

Mines

of

LU
_i

<

-j

<

o
U

"

<
i,

o
<

<L

J7

3
^

2 ^

tr

-3

LU

>

S Q

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uj

_i

z (A

< tf)
Ul

j k

l-

LJ O

o
U)

cc
Q.

oc
LU
f-

a
z

<

<
(X

ro

O
~~

Ul

1-

H;

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Q.

LT

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<

uj

Ui

__

Q
O
as
a.

u.

H
0)

o <

ae
<

J 1

2
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z

oa

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-

t 2

<

Q
Z

3
ft

u.

o e>

a.
uj

1-

<*>

z
3

z
z
-

Superior Process
Parachute Creek
Figure 2 is
the

member of

a structure

major syncline

to be

minor syncline near


section

from

shown

the Green River

located in the

cross section

the Lower Zone is at the

and

Mahogany

the

which shows

the

three

the

basin

location

the

with a

of a cross

basin.

showing the Parachute Creek

divided vertically into

zones are shown as one zone at

formation.

also shows

south end of

27

Oil Shale

northern portion of

This map

center.

of

the Piceance Creek Basin

of

map

the north to the

Figure 3 is the
is

the

Development

for

zones

the

member.

Mahogany

top, the Leach Zone is in

and

It

Upper

the middle,

base.

Zone

For simplicity, the Upper

and

Mahogany

zones

and

combined

are

Zone"

referred

thin

at

to as the

the

in this

The

paper.

is very
600 feet in the

Mahogany

outcrop and thickens to more than


the basin. All of the oil shale beds in the

northern

southern part of

crop

"Mahogany

are made

up

of

It does

Zone.

Mahogany

only the

southern out

not contain

ap

dawsonite.

preciable or commercial amounts of nahcolite or

Leach Zone

The

middle zone

is

the "Leach

called

Zone."

The

cross section shows

does not outcrop in the southern part of the basin,


and only a very thin section outcrops in the northern part of the basin. It
is characterized by oil shale which is fractured and has high porosity.

that the Leach Zone

This porosity represents salts that were originally deposited in the oil
shale but have subsequently been leached out by ground water entering
via

fractures. The

the zone,
and

have

leaching

of

so weakened

the

the

salts

left

oil shale

debris. The porosity is filled,

voids

that it

as a result of

which, in many parts of

has

collapsed

leaching

of

into

rubble

the salts,

with

saline water.

Because

of

the

zones

economically feasible to
parts of

the

Much

of collapsed

rock

sink a vertical shaft

and

saline

water, it is

through this

zone

not

in many

basin.

geology and
investigated, but I refer you to
to the AIME in Chicago.
more

hydrology
a paper

of

the Leach Zone

that Weichman

( 1973 )

should

be

presented

Lower Zone

The Lower Zone is

composed of nonfractured oil shale which contains

28

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

cq

Superior Process

for

Development

of

Oil Shale

29

CO

p
o

l-l

30

Quarterly

the minerals

is

restricted

by facies

restricted

Figure 4 is

of

the

The

also shows

that the

nahcolite

the Lower Zone.

map showing the areal extent of the significant amounts


dawsonite in the Piceance Creek Basin. The outer line is

the

of

within

that the

cross section shows

It

to the subsurface.

Mines

of

of nahcolite and

the extent

dawsonite. The

nahcolite and

Lower Zone is

Colorado School

of the

significant

dawsonite

inner area is the

and the

extent

significant amounts of nahcolite.

This

resume of

plan

is to

Lower Zone
Leach

Zone,

the geology is necessary to

mine oil shale

by

the

mine

is

crop considerably below the base


and-pillar size will

Approximately

65

Because

vary

with

of the

inclined

by

planned

mine plan.

dawsonite from

nahcolite and

room-and-pillar method.

to the

access

containing

the

understand

the

of

overlying
from the out

adit

broken Leach Zone. Actual

depth, lithology

percent of the mine zone

estimated

to

room-

in the

and rock strain

is

the

be

area.

in

removed

panels.

Figure 5

shows an example of a panel

the way around, except for

a rib pillar all

losing

a safeguard against

the entire

Great

the overlying Leach Zone.


sidence

Zone,

as

guard

against

induced

square enclosed

Mining

an entrance.

mine

care

1,500 feet

to

unexpected water

must

be

fracturing

which would allow excessive water

in

by

panels

is

flow from

taken to prevent sub

upward

into

the

If

to enter the mine.

Leach

excessive

flow is unexpectedly penetrated and cannot be controlled, the panel


be retreated and the water contained within the panel by sealing the

water

can

entrance.

Any normal amounts of water flowing into the mine can be pumped
directly into the processing system and consumed without being exposed
to

contaminate

the

surface waters.

Step II:

The first product,


mechanical
occurence

crushing

raw

and

Nahcolite Recovery

nahcolite, is

screening

separated

process.

from the

Figure 6

of nahcolite as various sized nodules

in the

oil shale

shows

the normal

The

shale.

by

oil shale

is very tough to fracture by impact whereas the nahcolite is very brittle


and fractures easily. Proper crushing liberates most of the nahcolite from
the oil

approximately 80

shale and

from the

shale

by

vary from 30-80

screening.

percent pure.

the

photosorting

with

percent pure

from the

scale

The

The

being

mine zone

by

processing, as little

as

60

is

estimated

to

be

fractions are
can be further

various screen

80

goal

percent

nahcolite

percent

this

percent

recovery

process.

may be

of

separated

expected

to

purified

by

the nahcolite, 80

However,
recovered

in

by

commercial

this

process.

Superior Process

for

Development

of

r>

v/

Oil Shale

31

32

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

Mines

of

? nan ? ? a ?

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4:1.
>

? ? ? ? D ? ?

?
?

? ? ? ? D D DSD D ?sdKp
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? ? a ? ? D D*D ? D ? D

? ? ? a D D nta

II

,</>,

D D ?

lO

? ? ? ? D a atntn D D D
OS

'

? a D ? ? D DJDoD

fc

ti

==**

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D D D ? D ? ? DoD

D D ? ? ? n d n"n

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/>

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"n

? ? ? ? ? D D D D

gD ?

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4.. 4 I

? Q ??Dnnnna
D D

i
ae

-j

uj

-i

<

q:
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03

id

w
K

Superior Process

for

Development

of

Oil Shale

OIL SHALE

NAHCOLITE

NODULES

Figure

6. Typical occurrence of nahcolite nodules

in

oil shale.

33

34

Quarterly

The remaining 20-40


oil shale

by

The

percent of

leach

water

Colorado School

of the

the

be

nahcolite can

and recovered

in

Mines

of

separated

the

wet chemical processing.

containing the dawsonite is delivered to

oil shale

from

the

Step III,

retort.

Step III:
In
retort.
various

the

Step III, the oil shale containing dawsonite is pyrolized in the


Many types of retorts are being tested or have been tested by
organizations and basically they all do the same thing. They heat

kerogen in the

is proprietary

this

shale oil

and

is

cess used.

The type

by

oil vapors produced are collected

Much

cooling.

of

the

most

entirely dependent
retort anticipated in this

and

technology

retort process

time; however,
cases,
low Btu noncondensable gas.
in

at

character of each

the

shale and

into liquid

condensed

liquid

Retorting

the retort products are

The

percentage

the type of retort

almost

on

of

process

is

and
pro

a closed system.

first step in a modern refinery system and like a modern


refinery, it is designed for safety and environmental considerations. The
It is

similar

Superior

to the

is

retort process

anticipated

that low

ground

will

to its point

be

oil

refining

mixed

tested at this
and

step.

The

the

spent

with

gas

be

can

produced

in the

sour water produced

and

shale

it is

returned

under

Aluminum Compound Recovery

beginning of the Step IV process

pyrolysis where

pipable

however,

time;

of origin.

Step IV:
The

fuel

sulfur

without a separate partial

retort system

being

still

the dawsonite is

a soluble aluminum compound

takes

decomposed

place

by

in the

heat

that, for simplicity,

Step

III

retort

and converted

will

be

called

into

"alumi

num

The degradation
equation

(1)

of

dawsonite

when

heated in the

is

retort

shown

in

Heat

The

oxide

num

C02
The

sodium

and

A1203 + Na2C03 + COo + 2H20

>

2NaAl[OH]2C03

aluminum
sodium

carbonate

carbonate

and water vapor are given off.


reaction occurs at about

render

insoluble

The
when

much of

the

370 C

(dawsonite) degrades

(Smith 1967).
The

reaction

and

heating

In the

alumi

degradation,

is temperature
above about

sensitive.

670 C

can

available aluminum.

aluminum oxide and sodium carbonate remain

discharged from the

into

(1)

retort and are

delivered to

in the

light

spent shale

caustic

leach.

Superior Process

Development

for

of

Oil Shale

35

Figure 7 is a generalized diagram of the aluminum recovery process.


The light caustic leach liquor is formed by water taken from the
mine, or,
if the

is

mine

dry, by

using the

necessary, sodium hydroxide is added. The


shale is water soluble,
and, along with the

forms the liquor. The


as

ion

aluminum

beneficiates

three-

filter to

and run through a polish


or

from

remove

liquor

by filtration.

and conveyed

to the

mine

Figure 8 is

The

liquor

decolorizer

The

ash.

soda

and

dried for

The

market.

purged and most

in the

heated

of

purge

is

ash

soda

in barometric

covered

system

then

high

The

diagram

a generalized

is beneficiated to

third

is

pure

the very fine

spent

leached

is

which

separ

is dewatered

shale

of

which

the soda ash recovery

is left

saturation

level. The liquor is

to evaporate the

liquor,

liquor from the

evaporated

run

The

condensers as pure water.

centrifuged

system

re

is periodically

soda ash
and

the
and

is

crystallizers

accumulating impurities are carried


solution. This process has four effluents:

mixed with

through

water and crystallize

from the

separated

process.

the aluminum is re

after

the

is

clarified

Carbonation

shale.

(Al[OH]3)

for market; the second is the


water for use
any number of ways;

purge water which

spent

decantation

liquor is

saturated

aluminum compound

the

If

for disposal.

sodium carbonate-rich

moved

in the

counter-current

trihydrate

the

ated

Zone.

sodium

or

precipitates aluminum

seeding

sodium carbonate

four-step
liquor. The highly

the pregnant

the Leach

hydroxide and water,


dissolves in the light caustic leach

aluminum oxide

and

from

saline water

the

out of
one

the

is the

for market;
fourth is the

the spent shale and is returned

under

ground.

Spent Shale Disposal

Step V:
In

Step V,

dewatered
shale can

size,

The

individual

to the

mine

be

to

plant will

Figure 9 is

shale

first

top.

By

returned

mine

by

for disposal.

conveyor, or,

returned

dictate

from the leach

by

and wash

The leached

depending

pipeline as a slurry.

which procedure

tanks is

on

spent

the grain

Operations

is best. Close follow-

behind the mining will tend to minimize pillar


diagram of the spent shale return system in a panel.

of spent shale return

creep.

by

be

spent shale

to the

and returned

mixed with water

of each

up

leached

the

is

roll

Then,

packed

in the

packing the
the

top

mine panels all

spent shale

eight

feet

proper moisture content

tive,

the

in the

spent shale will pack

The packing

of

the

shale

or so

by

shale and

the

up

the

rooms

feet from the

the introduction

contains

of

high-speed belt

roof and set

rooms

top

within about eight

is filled

to the

in the

to

the way to the

similar

slinger.

of an addi

to shotcrete.

pillars and prevents

36

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

Superior Process

for

Development

of

Oil Shale

37

00

Quarterly

38

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

D ? a D D ? ? ?
D D ? ? ? a ? D D D ?
-t4

II'

it

-4-t-

..i-i

..

:**

D D ? D D
?

D D ? ? D a ?? d
UJ

}"'''(

"a

? D a ? ? ? DiD ? D D D

? D ? ? a ? ?.? ? D D D

D ? D D ? ? nta n D D D

? a ? ?

o
o

L D D

? ? ? ? ? CL-an

cSDtnf

CD

D ? ? ? ? a ? DD ToDSn
O

;
i

D D ? ? ? D D DoD

D ? a ? ? n a ?: ?

5; gnjn

ugtD

D ? ? D a
D ? ? a D DDDDJSDD

j_"

D a ? ? ? D D D D D
D ?

CC

-J

UJ

-1

<
aa

<

HT

'F*?

Superior Process

Development

for

lateral creep and spalling, thus retarding


This also minimizes the threat of fracturing
Leach Zone

excessive

Returning

the removal

cause of
of

all of

the

The

from

eliminates

can

to the

mine

is

50 percent,

by

volume,

shale, due to processing,

will

about

50

per

to

percent

about

90

leached

the

of

spent

is

interstitial

the shale as

is further

of

contained

the very desirable

be noneffluent,
The processing

place

features

for the

except
of all

in

three

by
of

by

back

surface

added

is

water and

shale

to the

not available

the enclosed

underground

disposal. The
spent shale

for

shale-filled panels.

the process is that the operation

outflow of product.

products

simultaneously

indi

offsets the

product, thus making the total process economic


the products less than if they were processed individually.

cost of

Step VI:
VI is the

Step

railhead, at

the plant

An 80,000 ton

50,000 barrels
colite

2,800 tons
If

so

2,300 tons

The

fairly

per

about

day

per

desired,
per

site,

to

will

day

of oil per

product;

Marketing

delivery

of

the

and

Products

large

market of a

be

is

movement.

vidual costs of each

the

be

possible

of the

ecological problems encountered

any

water

One

the possibility of

mine.

purge water and retort sour water which

The

settling.

original rock.

emplacement

tied up in

39

and

maturity

and reduces

of about

processing

volume

pillar

spent shale

The swelling

increase the remaining


the

leached

during

the original material.

cent of

entering the

water

Oil Shale

of

volume of products.

necessary.

oil shale and minerals plant would yield about

day;

15,000 tons

3,000 tons

per

day

per

of

day

of nahcolite or nah

aluminum

trihydrate;

and

of soda ash.

the aluminum trihydrate can

be

calcined

into

about

day of alumina.

product use of

The

obvious.

potentially be

fuel oil,

aluminum

use of raw nahcolite

of major

is

compound

and soda

ash

is

a new product area and could

importance.

Nahcolite Use

The

is tremendously important in the solution of


problems. Bench-level testing has shown that

nahcolite product

the energy and

ecological

by processing will absorb nearly 100 percent


laboratory conditions, and follows generally

nahcolite or nahcolite altered

of

S02

under

according to

controlled

equation

(2).

2NaHC03 + S02 + l/202

Na2S04 + H20 + 2C02

(2)

Quarterly

40

Two

parts

nahcolite

percent

from the

to the

has been designed


The

in

ticulates

sulfur oxides

tests

various

greater than

90

from

the

absorbed

removed

in

percent of

is

the absorption

nahcolite

prototype opera

is readily

at

least 90

has

also re

tests

equipment

the submicron size

S02 by

of

agent

par

In this process,

in the reaction.

used

the

shown

pure sodium sulfate and as such

by

scrubbing

various

The

gas.

stack

dry

Superior in

by

tested

nahcolite

Pilot tests have

sodium sulfate.

surface

percent efficiency.

than 80

more

percent of

product

S02 has been

has

from

sulfate,

high

containing from less than

gas streams

through an electrostatic precipitator.

which pass

The

has been

and

sodium

with

nahcolite

use granular nahcolite as

prototype equipment

the

percent of
moved

nearly 100

to

equipment

S02 in

the 13.0

more

gas stream at

The

tions.

Using

powdered

Mines

of

to form

S02

part

one

with

the absorbing agent,

area as

0.5

reacts

dioxide.

water and carbon

Colorado School

of the

nahcolite

is primarily

be 95

percent-plus

to

product

marketable within

the available

limits.

market

Impact of Nahcolite Use


The

implementation

economic

gardless of

its character, to be

emissions standards

Nahcolite

can

defined
be

shale production

than

ton

will

of

nahcolite

produced

shale operation

free for

day

of

Figure 10

shows
shale

sulfur

potentially free for


of over

175

million

Figure 11
with

the

energy
per

year).

nahcolite

use

6.3 tons

by

available

herein,

and

re

violating the

as

will

byproduct from

One

production operations.
of

percent

per

sulfur

day

of

the 80,000 ton

free for

coal

at

nahcolite,

per

day

94,500 tons

use about

oil

oil
per

Nahcolite Combined Use

that the
oil

use

15,000 tons

1,000 trillion Btu


that if 1

instead

of

percent

per

day

per year.

of

day

per

nahcolite

This is the

sulfur

western

percent sulfur eastern

from 1,000,000 barrels


greater

50,000 barrels

of

0.3

would

equivalent

of oil per year.

of nahcolite would

This is

combination of

and

barrels

shows

nahcolite

values

day

without

coal,

percent sulfur coal at stoichiometric proportions.

Impact of Shale Oil

percent

cheaply

Fifteen thousand tons

made

described

for utility fuel

more

from direct

the amount potentially

allow

will

by law.

proportions.

stoichiometric

used

this process

of

per

day

coal

were

coal, the

of shale oil and

than the

combined

300,000 tons

total 39,336 trillion Btu per year


projected

used

(330-day

1985 total energy deficit.

Superior Process

for

Development

of

Oil Shale

>-

CL
j/>

*b

>-

CD

1-

Q_

1 1 i

co

ro

I-

q.

GO

'

HM

o
^

Ii

l i'tP

il

II

02

'1

It

jl 1

<
III

in

>

UJ
UJ

cr
^

_i

<
Q O

Ul

a.

'!

;i'^-

2i,i

O CO

uj;

-J

.il

~i

J*

3
o

co,
w IO

;5r
v^

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mm

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m

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ffl

v-

o &
o
o

fg
VI

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z o

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O CL
X H

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go
>-

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IS

'

Ii

}aa

r-'Ll
i

41

42

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

Superior Process
At this

estimated

Oil Shale

to be

over

in the Lower Zone

technology

have to define

will

However,

Pilot mining

operations

high

nahcolite
would

nahcolite

to the

free

production

barrels

The

major

development

94,500 tons

clean

of oil per

could

day

of

43

150

years of

the Parachute

a use or safe

problems

are not

1974,

and

as much as

day

of

marketing

production

disposal for

Five thousand tons

the

level,

sodium

impossible.

concentrating initial
5,000 tons per day of

day

of nahcolite per

percent sulfur western coal

This is the

for

326,000

energy as early as 1975.


environmental impact of oil shale and

minerals

equivalent

of

available as clean
and

be

the resulting availability of

cheap energy, which can be


the environment. This would result in

wildlife

in

deliver

clean and

ment and not

At that

certain

about

energy.

energy

would

per

nahcolite,

overcome.

beginning

in 1975.

surface

over
of

zones,

these

day

per

have to be

problems would

sulfate produced.

on

place

300,000 tons

production of

logistic

ly

in

of

member.

At

new

Development

production, there is

of shale and nahcolite

supply

Creek

rate of

for

a more

"devastating

domestic,

consumed without

degradation

a net enhancement of

impact

on

the

land,

adequate,

the

air,

of

environ

water

and

than the recovery of any other energy

REFERENCES
Weichman, B. E., 1973, Depositional history and hydrology of the Green River oil
Paper presented,
shale, Piceance Creek basin, Rio Blanco County, Colo.:
Am.
Metall.
Petroleum
Mtg.
Inst. Mining
Engineers, Feb.
Chicago, 102d Ann.
25-Mar. 1.

Smith,

J. W..

1967,

Personal

communication:

U.S. Bur.

Mines, Laramie,

Wyo.

OIL SHALE PROCESSING METHODS

Thomas A. Hendrickson

INTRODUCTION
When considering

liquid

usable

and

gaseous

the

views of

several

Retorting
material under

retorting

dolomite,

retorting

purpose of

quartz, clay,

shale

"kerogen")

to conveniently

emerges

this author to

processes of current

(called

oil

always

may be defined as the distilling


the influence of heat. Oil shale is

mixture of organic matter


as

fuels,

It is the

appropriate process.

for converting

processes

the

as

present

most

brief

re

interest.

decomposing

the

or

of a

a rock which consists of a

inorganic matter,

and

When

calcite and other materials.

such

oil shale

is

retorted, it is the kerogen that decomposes or pyrolyzes when heated.


Most of the inorganic rock minerals are unaffected by the relatively low
temperature range of 900 to 1000 F needed for rapid pyrolysis of kerogen.

RETORTING PROCESSES

The Fischer
Let's
can

learn

the assay

( 1949 )

procedure

is

obtained

to

retorting
hurry. Developed

( 1965 )

assayed

by

from

Fischer

the

the

Miniature

in

assay.

U.S. Bureau

Stanfield

by

of

We

Mines,

and

Frost

usually to determine the gallons of shale oil that


ton of oil shale. The Fischer assay is the generally

laboratory

procedure

(932F)

in

placed

prevent air admission.

attaining 500C

method

simple

retorting
The 100-gram sample is

sealed

Retorting Process

has been described in detail

Hubbard

shale

accepted

lot from it in

and

Oil
may be

start with

AssayA

after

The
40

for evaluating

an aluminum retort which

sample

minutes.

Cameron Engineers, Inc., Denver, Colorado.

45

oil shale.

is heated

is then

at a specified

It is held

at

rate,

932F for 20

Quarterly

46

As kerogen

minutes.

through cooling

decomposes,

the

vapor

of

Mines

products

pyrolysis

of

pass

collecting equipment for recovery of shale oil, water,


gases. Water and oil are separated by centrifuging.

and

and uncondensed

Consider

Colorado School

of the

now

what

can

we

learn

about

retorting

Fischer assay data. Typical data for various grades of


1 through 4. The data are taken from Stanfield et al.

Table l.Data

from the

obtainable

of oil

follow in tables

shale

( 1951 )

modified

from

shale

Fischer assay

Typical Values
For Very
Low
Grade
Shale

011,

gal/ton

Oil

weight percent

Water,

weight

Spent shale,

10.5
4.0
0.5

percent

Table

2. Physical properties

Grade

Raw 011 Shale,

For High
Grade
Shale

26.7
10.4
1.4
85.7
2.0
0.5

94.4
1.1

weight percent

Gas, weight percent


Loss, weight percent

of

For

For Medium
Grade
Shale

Very

High
Grade
Shale

36.3

61.8
23.6
1.1
70.4
4.2
0.7

13.8
1.5
82. V
2.2
0.4

of shale oil derived from the Fischer assay


of Colorado oil shale samples

011 from Fischer


Wt. percent

of

g/t

10.5

26.7

36.3

57.1

61.8

75.0

4.0

10.4

13.8

21.9

23.6

28.7

assay:
raw

shale

Sp. Gr.,@60/60F

.925

.930

.911

.918

.919

.918

Kinematic viscosity, 100F,


20.71

23.72

18.19

17.10

17.12

17.28

Gross Heating Value, Btu/lb

18,510

18,330

18,680

18,580

18,510

18,440

Pour point, F

80

75

85

80

80

75

centl stokes

Table 3

Grade

.Chemical

of raw

011 from Fischer

Carbon,

g/t

shale,

weight

80

75

85

80

of shale oil derived from the Fischer


assay of Colorado oil shale

composition

17.8

18.8

19.5

21.4

22.3

29.8

36.6

38.0

51.8

84.54

84.84

83.77

84.32

84.72

84.80

84.26

85.26

84.82

assay:

Hydrogen,

weight

11.32

11.38

11.17

11.40

11.72

11.60

11.76

11.76

11.68

Nitrogen,

weight

2.01

2.00

2.13

2.03

1.86

1.96

1.91

1.70

2.05

.49

.76

.58

.60

Sulfur,
C/H

weight

ratio

.58

7.5

.51

7.5

7.5

7.4

7.2

7.3

.58

7.2

.69

7.2

.71

7.3

Oil Shale Processing Methods


4.Calorific values

Table

of

oil shale

47

Fischer assay

and

products

Raw Shale:

Grade, Gal/Ton
Gross

10.5

Heating Value,

Assay Products:
Oil, weight %
Water, weight %
Spent Shale, weight %
Gas, weight %
Gas, ft '/ton shale
Loss, weight, 7
Gross
of

Heating

61.8

5.510

75.0

6,010

7,000

10.4

13.8

21.9

23.6

.5

1.4

1.5

1.2

1.1

1.5

85.7

82.1

72.3

70.4

63.6

1.1

2.0

66

2.2

337

3.9

445

28.7

4.2

1051

4.6

1073

1207

1.6

.5

.4

.7

.7

18,330

18,680

18,580

18,510

Value

18,510
-

Shale, Btu/lb.
1000 Btu/ton

Products

250

18,440

330

1,160

1,090

973
926

562

1,214

897

1,006

49

255

453

739

758

1,018

shale

obtained

from

80

Btu/ft3

expected

3,080

4.0

Water

Spent

57.1

36.3

2,340

94.4

Assay Products:
Oil, Btu/lb

Gas,
Gas,

26.7

1,020

Btu/lb.

from the Fischer assay

are

typical

those to

of

in the

commercial processes which retort shale

1,250

be

absence of

air.

The NTU Retorting Process


"NTU"

The

built

name

to

was given

the Nevada-Texas-Utah

by

in the 1920s. The U.S. Bureau

the

Company

of

to

cation

retorts were

of

review of

retorting

is

retort

late 1940s.

not suitable

for

appli

basis. However, since


in frequent operation at the

Energy

and are

Research Center in

Wyoming,

brief

the process is in order.

The design features


Bureau

the

retorts on

on a commercial

built recently

Mines Laramie

Santa Maria, California,

during

batch process, the NTU

modern shale

two NTU

Bureau

near

Mines built two 40-ton NTU

the Naval Oil Shale Reserves in Colorado

Because it is

process used at a plant

retorting

of

Mines

at

of one of

Anvil Points

the 40 ton NTU


are shown

retorts

built

by

the U.S.

in figure 1 (data from Ruark

1971).
A
at the
shale

view of

Laramie

the 150-ton NTU

Energy

retort

of

Research Center is

has just been discharged

on

the U.S. Bureau

shown

retort

the shale.
passes
of

the

of

the

to

started at

downward through the


retort

the

retort.

operation

is

spent

air

is

admitted

into the

heat necessary to retort


the top of the bed of shale. The fire front
bed. When the fire front reaches the bottom

support combustion

A fire is

The

Mines

the ground.

Unlike the Fischer assay retorting method,

NTU

in figure 2.

of

shut

to

provide

down

and

the

the spent shale is

dumped

out

Quarterly

48

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

_-c

Hoist for

Telescoping

Charging

Tube

WASTE GAS
STACK

=4

.^

Portland
Cement &
Calcined
Aggregate

Fire Brick

u.*!"/

<4"

*-.^

iff

REFLUX
ACCUMULATOR

Figure

features of one of two 40-ton NTU retorts built by the U.S.


(Data source:
Bureau of Mines at Anvil Points, Colorado, in 1947.
USBM Report of Investigations 5279.)

1. Design

Summary data for


Laramie

because it

in the NTU retorting

inch

to this

methods

relates

process.

particular retort.

pounds.

size.

the early runs in the 150-ton

retort

at

retorting ungraded shale of very large particle size are


in table 5. The data are from Harak (1971). This particular

run was chosen

7,500

of

when

presented

shale

one

About 20

to the

reason

The Bureau

One block
the

percent of

of

for the

interest

Mines feeds very

of shale

feed

current

for this

coarse

run weighed

shale was coarser

than 20-

feed is that the Bureau is studying


for retorting very large fragments of oil shale, such as may be
The

encountered

reason

during

in

for

such coarse

situ

retorting

of shale.

Oil Shale Processing Methods

Figure

Loading spent shale from the 150-ton NTU retort


Energy Research Center (photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau

2.

49

at
of

the Laramie

Mines).

50

Quarterly

Table

5.

of the

Summary data

for

Colorado School
run

number

of

Mines

2 in the 150-ton

retort

at

Laramie
Length

days..

12.25

Shale charge
tons..
Retort pressure
psig..
Air rate (dry)
scfm..
Do
scf/ton shale..
F..
Avg air temp into retort
Recycle gas rate (dry)
scfm..
Do
scf/ton shale..
F..
Avg recycle gas temp into retort
Oxygen content of retorting gas
pet..
ft3
gas/ft2
Space velocity
bed/min..

178.67
3.0
135
13,300
28
67
6,600
43
14.5
1.94
177
17,400
42
4,100
0.6
26
1.75
1,600
5.6

of

Operating

run

conditions:

Stack gas rate (dry)


Do
Gas produced in retort
Do
Max retort differential

Avg
Avg
Max
Bed

Oil

ambient

scfm..

shale..

scf/ton

shale..

(dry)

scfm..

in.

press

advance

rate

compaction

pet

initial

of

properties:

Fischer assay
Water content
Bulk density
Gross heating
Recovery:
Oil
Spent shale
Oil recovery
Oil properties:

25.4
2.9
80.0
2,267

gal/ton..
gal/ton..

lb/ft3..
Btu/lb..

value

2,830
125.86
62.2

gal..

tons..
Vol

pet

of

Fischer

Gravity
Pour

H2O.
F.
in/hr..
F..
height..

temp

retorting
bed temp

shale

scf/ton

point

SUS

Viscosity

at

Hydrogen
Nitrogen
Sulfur
Carbon
Ash
Gross heating value
Spent shale properties:
Fischer assay
Gross heating value

assay..

API..
F..
100
F..
wt

pet..

wt

pet..

wt

pet..

wt

pet..

wt

pet..

25.2
70
79
11.76
1.77
0.76
84.58
0.01
18,660

Btu/lb..

0
117

gal/ton..

Btu/lb..

GAS COMBUSTION RETORTING PROCESS


Gas Combustion retorting was developed and demonstrated by the
U.S. Bureau of Mines during the period 1945-55 as part of a comprehen
sive

R&D

program conducted at

Anvil

Naval Oil Shale Reserves in Colorado.

dustry group leased


used by the Bureau,

the Anvil
and

Points

Points,

a research

facility

on

the

During 1964-67, a 6-company in


facility, modernized the old retort

conducted extensive

demonstration

operations.

Oil Shale Processing Methods


There is

lot

R&D

of

behind the

work

The

gas combustion process.

may find commercial application.


In gas combustion retorting, coarsely

cess

flows

crushed oil shale

pro

continu

gravity downward through a vertical kiln retort. The flow rate


the moving bed of shale is controlled
by a grate discharge mechanism

by

ously
of

51

lower

in the

It is

(fig. 3)

the retort

part of

to imagine the retort as being divided into four


functional zones, although there are no physical separations installed in
the retort. The four zones are the shale preheating zone, the shale retort

ing

convenient

zone, the

combustion

Combustion
in the

shale

in this hot

air plus

combustion

liberate heat.

zone,

Some

is

the

spent shale

gas are

some recycle

zone.

residual

zone also

and

Fuel in the

carbon which

cooling zone.
injected into the bed

recycle

is

burned, liberating heat

gas

burns in

present on

air

of

to

shale particles

and gaseous products

of

combustion.

Some
the

serves

cool recycle gas

function

combustion

cooling hot

of gases

of solids.

in the

This flow

the gas-to-solids

cause

spent shale

the

of

downward from

flowing

retort

direct

provides

heat

is upward,

transfer

has

counter

gas-to-solids
proven

to the

heat

of

Mines

Typical

the

at

Anvil Points is

performance

in Table 6. The data

are

shown

downward
Be

exchange.

to be excellent, gas

bustion retorting is of relatively high thermal efficiency.


A view of the 150 ton/ day gas combustion retort built
Bureau

retort and

zone.

The flow

flow

of

is introduced into the bottom

by

com

the U.S.

in figure 4.

data for Gas Combustion retorting are presented


from Cramer (1969) and Clampitt (1971).

UNION OIL COMPANY PROCESS


The Union Oil Company's

heated type, using


shale

to

an

injected into

"rock

process
shale

inverted-cone-shaped

to supply

support combustion

The Union Oil


uses a

air

shale

features

feeding

retorting

moving bed
all

bed

of shale.

product vapors

solids.

is

The flow

of

downward,

air,

of

is

open

is

of

the direct-

coarsely

process

a retort of novel

Shale solids, after having been retorted,


top. Air enters the bed of shale at the top
the

necessary

device that

vessel which

process

crushed

heat.

design. This

retort

pushes oil shale upward

into

to the atmosphere at the top.

overflow

the vessel

walls

at

the

and supports combustion within

combustion product gases and pyrolysis

countercurrent

to the

upward

flow

of shale

52

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

a
C

o
CO

w
O

35

<

33
a

Oil Shale Processing Methods

Figure

4. 150

ton/day

U.S. Bureau

gas
of

combustion

retort

at

Mines (photo courtesy

53

the Anvil Points

Facility

U.S. Bureau

Mines).

of

of

of

the

Quarterly

54

jm

CL

oo CO CM

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0*

in
r"

<J\

~*

O m

ps

vO

ps.

r->

sj

CM

00

\T\

rs

ao

r-i

m m ao o

r" ao

cm r-t

O
ps.

CM

Mines

of

in

CM

Is*

on

o
o

r-

CM

cn

CM

r-t

Colorado School

of the

rs.

00 vO

sft

~t

CM eo

CM

*+

ps

r>.

o m

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m
CM CO

O cn

CM
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r-i

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vC

a.

o
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w

00

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O m

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cm

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in

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rs.

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Oil Shale Processing Methods


Both the

in figure

evident
which

novel

was

design

5,

built

and

of

55

the retort and the process

drawing

of

the 350 ton

operated

in

western

flowsheet become

demonstration

day

Colorado

during

the

retort
period

1954-58.
Hot gases,
carbon
cause

generated

remaining
to

pyrolysis

on shale
occur

cold raw shale which

feeding

cold

kiln. Pyrolysis

carbon occurs

fragments burns in air, flow downward

in the

being

incoming

occurs

in the

below the

zone

fed into

device. Heat is

Conversely,
the

is

combustion zone where residual organic

flow downward

pyrolysis product vapors

pump
ing.

in the

the

in the

kiln

by

is heated

at

the

direct
as

zone.

the

and are cooled on

exchanged

shale

combustion

bottom

by

the

uppermost zone near

solids-to-gas contact

it flows

through

upward

the

surface of

the retort,

where

OIIVE-

SPfNT

SHAlf

SPIl

HOWS

SEFAIATOI-

ZONE

SM

ich

&ses

hot

TO

ShaiI

Oil

SF

COOLING

SHAIE

ING

TO

SIOIACf,
>WsW/AV///vW/A\^^^

5. Union

Oil

shale retort.

WHICH

ZONE

UtNING

ifAl

IN

MEHEATED

l$

All

Figure

rock

pyrolysis zone and combustion of residual

HOW

Oil

The

incoming

HYOIAUUC

MIST

and

Kllf

OUT

CTUNDEI

Quarterly

56

Colorado School

of the

Mines

of

spent shale solids overflow the retort rim.


and product properties are shown

Typical operating conditions, yields,

in tables 7

and

8.
Table

Operating conditions and yields

Shale feed
Fischer assay
Total feed (wet)
Feed rate (dry)

Retorting

gal.

27.9
157.7
25.44

/ton
tons

tons/day

conditions

Retorting
lb.

rate.

138
10,700
0.32

ft. bed area


s.c.f./ton shale
Air requirements-Superficial linear gas velocity, ft. /sec.
Retort pressure (top)
inches H2O
Pressure drop across bed
Temperatures, F.
Combustion zone
Ash out
Products out

011

shale/hr./sq.

atm.

7.5
2200
800
1 25

production

Light oil (C4-C5)


M1st
011 1n sludge
Liquid oil collected
Total oil produced
Total oil

vol.

011 recovery
011 collected
011 collected
011 collected
011

/ton feed
do
do
do
do
% Fischer assay

2.6
1.4
0.2
23.6
27.8
99.5

gal.

feed
% Fischer assay
% Fischer assay

23.6
86.2
84.4

gal. ton
wt.

vol.

yield summary

011

yield

(incl.

011
011

yield

(do)
(do)

mist

and

sludge)

25.2
92.3
90.4

gal. /ton

Fuel

yield

gas

production

Wet

gas

Dry

gas

wt.
vol.

% Fischer assay
% Fischer assay

s.c.f./ton

feed

do

Union Oil Company's 350 ton/day demonstration retort,

located

near

Rifle, Colorado, is

shown

17,350
14,430

which was

in figure 6.

TOSCO II RETORTING PROCESS

The TOSCO II

ing load

ferring

of

heated

oil shale
ceramic

the necessary

retorting

balls

process

process

heat-carrying
finely crushed

as the

heat to

features the

use of a circulat

medium

oil

shale

for trans
to

effect

57

Oil Shale Processing Methods


Table
Properties

8. Product properties

of oil

Gravity

A.P.I.

Specific gravity
Viscosity--

@60F.

@60F.

S.U.S. @1

Visccsity

20.7
0.9297
113
46
90
0.81
1.90

22F.--

S.U.S.@210F.~

Pour point
Sulfur

F.-'

-Wt.

Nitrogen
Water

dovol

Ash
Distillation
Initial
iO
20
30
40
50
60
70

--

trace

wt.

0.04

285
509
576
622
666
688
701
cracked

Properties of fuel gas


Gross heating value

(dry)

B.t.u./s.c.f.

Water content
Analysis (dry basis)

vol.

%-

mol

%-

80.8
12.4

Air-

2.2
56.9
0.7
4.6
30.3
2.2
0.1
0.9
0.6
0.4
0.4
0.2
0.3
0.1
0.1

N2-

AC0C02H2H2S-

C2
C2
C3

c3
C4

C4

c5
Properties
Organic
Mineral

of

ash

residue

content

carbonate

Figure

content-

6 350

Wt.
Wt.

ton/ day Union Oil

% CO

0.08
0.49

process

demonstration

retort.

58

Quarterly
the

pyrolysis of

kept
air.

under an

Pyrolysis

Colorado School

of the

kerogen. The

shale's

internal

pyrolysis

of

drum,

vessel, a rotating

5 psig to

pressure of about

Mines
is

prevent admittance of

reducing conditions, essentially no combustion


Ceramic balls are reheated in a separate gas-fired

occurs under

occurring in the

retort.

furnace.

(TOSCO) developed

The Oil Shale Corporation

the Aspeco process,

as a refinement of

inventor

who

led to the

work

Aspegren,

named after

his inventions to

not reduced

development

tracted early

DRI's

had

this retorting process

Swedish

TOSCO

practice.

( DRI )

to the Denver Research Institute

work

24-ton/day

construction of a

con
.

in Denver

pilot plant

in 1957.

In

1964,

Development

Colony

to

changed

the Oil Shale Venture

Cleveland Cliffs Iron


works scale

retorting

operations, using
a

Colorado

new sponsor

Field

as

operations

well as retort

subsequentiy

Company for the purpose of demonstrating the


of oil shale by the TOSCO II
retorting process.
1972. The

serving

name

Company) by TOSCO, SOHIO,

1000 tons/day capacity,

a retort of about

site until

formed (the

was

Colony

operator, is

now

1972,

through

demonstrations,

with

project,

in the

which

involved the

include

mine

semi-

Field

continued at

ARCO,

relatively

design

commercial

and

phase.

developments

expenditure of about

$55

as

mil

lion.
A flowsheet for the TOSCO II

shale

process

retorting

is

presented

in

figure 7.
Minus M-inch

shale

feed

material

gases

from the

gas-fired

in the lift pipe, the

Pyrolysis is

of

are

about

from

charged

(500F)
of shale.
sufficient

into the

oil shale

for

from the

of

to

above

drum to

balls

the level

of

the

atmosphere.

furnace fired

ball-heating

drum (after

gas).

extraction

of

naphtha,

The heated
mix

balls, at 1200F,
incoming preheated

with

2 tons

balls for every 1 ton


the rotating drum is

of

and shale within

pyrolysis.

The rotating drum is, in effect,


pyrolyzed, the spent

ized

heated in

are

proportion of about

Retention time

rotating drum vessel measuring about


15 feet in length. High-alumina-content

pyrolysis

in the

500 F in

the pyrolysis

oil and residual oils

elevated

are

in

M-inch diameter

with product gas

gas,

by

about

fluidizing gases are the


addition to being preheated

is discharged to the

gas

accomplished

8 feet in diameter

balls

ball heater. In

solids

drum. Waste flue

pyrolysis

ceramic

shale

to

preheated

The hot

dilute-phase fluidized-bed "lift


flue

is

shale solids

lose

ball

mill.

As

oil shale's

kerogen is

strength and

become

finely

drum

at about

950 F

pulver

by the balls.
The

solid materials

leaving

the

pyrolysis

consist

Oil Shale Processing Methods

59

O
u
cn

O
H

o
l-l

0.
V)

c
Ui

^7

1joivdVdas^^

-j

^^

*ov^^

^Sfrs.

in

LO

3
,.3dld

uj

Uli.. 038

OB

it

>

ointd

3SVHd

simia

60
of

Quarterly

finely

Colorado School

of the

ground spent shale and

separated

from

spent shale

diameter

/2-inch

cylinder with numerous small

from

operates within a sealed accumulator vessel


of spent

exit, consisting

The balls

balls,

shale,

are elevated

by

heavy-duty

are

rotating

The trommel

shell.

which separate streams

and retort gases.

bucket

balls. Balls

ceramic

trommel, which is a
holes punched in the

by

Mines

of

elevator

to a gas-fired

ball-heating

furnace. The furnace design is described in U.S. Patent 3,595,540. Heat


ed

balls flow

heater is

by

gravity to the
to

compressed and used

Little has been

published

pyrolysis

lift

drum.

and preheat

concerning

Flue

gas

incoming

from the ball

cold shale

heat

conventional

feed.

and material

balances for the TOSCO II retorting process. Lenhart (1969) has pointed
out that TOSCO plant yields may not be compared directly with Fischer
assay
and

the overhead

Also,

duced

and not

heavier
Results

July
107.6

condenser

in the

condenser operates at

semiworks plant

operates

the Fischer assay reports only the amount of

100 F.

and

feed. The Fischer assay

yields on plant

the gas. In its operation, TOSCO claims to

from the

compounds
of a

7-day

1967 have been

run at

reported

percent

volume

concerning the

the

of

semiworks

(Hall

TOSCO II

oil

at around

liquid

recover

yield

was

produced.

9.Oil and gas yield percentages

Balance
Period

or

of

Run,

Hours

Total Dry

Average
Shale

C4+

Yield

as

Percent

of

Fischer Assav Oil Yield

Feed,

Rate,

Volume

Weight

Tons

Tons/Hour

Percent

Percent

13.53

358.42

26.5

108.8

106.9

12.47

344. G5

27.6

106.5

104.3

13.05

361.26

27.7

107.1

104.9

11.12

312.31

28.1

105.3

103.9

24.10

704.47

29.2

109.9

108.7

12.80

391.64

33.2

107.6

105.6

11.00

324.19

29.5

106.2

105.4

13.00

386.99

29.8

105.1

103.1

11.18

336.52

30.1

108.7

107.0

10

12. 7<3

390.88

30.6

109.1

106.6

11

10.97

316.89

23.9

110.4

108.3

12

17.12

511.44

29.9

105.3

104.1

163.12

4739.66

29.1

107.6

10S.9

Average

during

1968), showing

in table 9.

Raw Shale

butanes

pilot plant

(Seven-Day Run, July, 1967)

Length

oil pro

liquids.

Yardoumian

and

Fischer assay

yield are shown

Table

gas stream as

32 F

Data

61

Oil Shale Processing Methods


The TOSCO retorting technology is

demonstrated (although details


The process, in

all

probability,

at commercial rates.
near

Rifle, Colorado, is

view
shown

are

could
of

well

advanced

and

kept private) at semiworks scale.


be scaled up to operate successfully

the 1000 ton/

day

demonstration

in figure 8.

"semiworks"

Figure 8.-1000 ton/day

has been

TOSCO II

retort.

retort

Quarterly

62

Colorado School

of the

Mines

of

LURGI-RUHRGAS PROCESS
Lurgi-Ruhrgas

the

such as sand

shale

oil shale

The

to the

and are passed

fed into the lower

oil

derived from

shale, heat is transferred

oil shale particles

flow

pipe and

tinuous,

with

raw

feed

entering the
No heat

by

mixing hot

carrier

Retorting

occurs

of

oil

Some

the solids

Hot

and

recycle

from the

heated

pipe and are

screw.

bins

and elevated

solids overflow

The

heat-carrier

surge

the

top

process

solids

by

of

is

are
a

the

con

continually

screw.

balances

all

to

for definition

are available

probability, the L-R

and

have been

of process

the TOSCO II processes

Private demonstra

product yield and quality.

the Lurgi-Ruhrgas process

at

of

required).

shale

comparable as

made on

European

and on

(12 ton shale/day), now-dismantled


Ruhrgas A.G. Herten, Germany. (See fig. 9.)

United States

facility

In

bin. Vapors are drawn


dust-removal cyclones and then go
a surge

gravity to the mixing

or material

performance.

be

by

through

lift

part of a

fuel (if

stream of air and

tions

or spent shale solids

the raw

finely

solids of small particle

a sealed screw-type conveyor.

an oil condenser system.

would

heat-carrier

discharges into

screw conveyor

from the bin

lift

in

retort

for retorting

process

the mixing operation in the conveyor.

during

into

solids

use of

particles,

To

process.

from hot heat-carrier


the

coke

grains,

retorting

solids with

indirect-heated

an

It features the

crushed oil shale.

size,

offers

oil

shale

at a small

PARAHO RETORTING DEMONSTRATION PROJECT

The Paraho retorting project is a 30-month, industry-supported, $7.5


million program for demonstrating oil shale retorting in a new, modern,
improved-design

been leased
of

and

vertical

tests

kiln. The Anvil Points

will

be

conducted

facility

in Colorado has

there.

The Paraho retorting demonstration proposes to use a vertical kiln


8/2 feet inside diameter. During part of the demonstration, combustion

air will

be

admitted

combustion process

For

into the bed

kiln ) for

a second phase of

that

recycle

shale

the

(making it, in effect, a gas


direct-heating by combustion within the bed.
of

shale

demonstration,

the retort

will

be

arranged so

may be heated externally and injected into the bed


it, in effect, a Petrosix process kiln) for indirect heating

gas

(making

of
of

the shale.

The Paraho technology is described in U.S. Patent 3,736,247.


artist's rendition of a vertical

kiln

oil shale retort of

Paraho's retorting demonstration is

shown

the type to

in figure 10.

be

An

used

in

Oil Shale Processing Methods

c
H

rH

(TI

0)

0)

Vl

Q.

>

&

<0

&

U)

r-t

U
0)

u<

<0

V)

>

<)

c
o

UJ

b o
c

l/l

0)

Vl

u
c
o

T3

r-l

UJ

01
</>

o
-u

-H

0.

Ai

UJ

*j

rH

</>

r-l

<u

O o

?J

Ul

63

rr
c
-h

<J

Ai

"0
41

X
0>

Ai

Ai

X V) Ifl
m H 3 rJ
o z a X
U)

a>
o

o
O

rinnvmioho

b0

o
4-r

a>
iH

8
J3

5b
tH

3
i-l

<D

I
o>

Quarterly

64

of the

Colorado School

Shale

Rotating

of

Mines

rock

spreader

Shale

vapors

to oil

recovery

unit

Gas burner bar*

Gas burner bars-

Gas /air
mixture

Gas/air

Moving

grates

mixture

Spent shale
falls through
grates

Spent

shale to

disposaf beds

Figure

10. Vertical

kiln of Paraho design retorting coarsely crushed oil


( from 1973 Annual Report of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio )

shale
.

PETROSIX RETORTING PROCESS

The Petrosix
to the gas

retorting process, developed in

combustion process except

combustion air

sary for

oil shale

that

is injected into the bed

retorting.

heated

of shale

Brazil, is

similar

recycle gas rather

to provide the

heat

than

neces

Oil Shale Processing Methods


"Petrosix"

The
oil

intendeney da
Over 15

from

and

company)

nicely

State

feed/ day

of shale

at an elaborate oil shale

Parana,

of

near the

Shale for this

town

is

national

that company called Super-

operation

built

facility

and

performing
Petrobras in the

by

Curitiba. (See fig. 11.)

from the Irati


the

of miles across

Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina,

in

now

retorting
of

plant comes

for hundreds

outcrops

within

Brazilian

time, Petrobras has demonstrated the process at several


A demonstration retort having a nominal capacity of

years

tons

short

department

( the

Industrializacao do Xisto.

pilot plant stages.

2200

is derived from Petrobras

name

65

and

formation,

southern

which

Brazilian

Rio Grande do

Sul,

displays
Sao

states of

indicated in

as

figure 12.
Irati formation

oil

shale

by

zone of oil shale separated

A flowsheet

of

occurs,
an

the Petrosix

typically,

as

intermediate layer
shale

retorting

an
of

upper

( fig.

limestone

process

is

lower

and

shown

13 )

in figure

14.
Crushed
the

oil

kiln

vertical

with particles

shale,

retort and

drying, heating,

Retorting
is heated in

flows downward
and

retorting,

in slurry form to

pumped

process

cm

one

dimension,

enters

through the various zones of

The

cooling.

in

shale

retorted

solids

are

disposal pond.

heat is

a separate gas

up to 15

supplied

heating

by a recycle stream

furnace designed to

of off-gas which

use either shale oil

fuel. In future years, the use of the residual carbon on


may be used as fuel for the recycle gas heater. Preheated
is injected into the bed of shale at the retorting zone level.

or process gas as

spent shale
recycle gas

The

temperature

A
the

this

of

to

ascend

through the

spent

Vapors ascending from the retorting

flowing
out of

raw oil shale

the

retort

tween gases and

Kiln
removal

the

shale

lower

part of

and recover sensible

heat.

by the downward
form, which is carried

zone are cooled

an oil mist

solids, causing

flows

off-gas stream.

to

Good heat

exchange occurs

through cyclones and electrostatic precipitators

of particulates
part

is

and oil mist

used

of sulfur and

No heat

controlled.

be

solids.

off-gas

compressed,

recovery

by

is easily

stream, unheated, is injected into the

second recycle

retort

recycle stream

for recycle,

LPG, leaving

or material

The final

droplets.
and
a

the

remainder

final fuel-gas

balances have been

the Petrosix

plant or process.

for Petrosix

shale oil shown

Bruni

(1971) has

in table 10.

gas

is

for

product

processed

is

for

product.

released

reported

by
the

Petrobras for
specifications

66

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

Mines

of

J3

a
o

Ctf

N
i=i
at

.a

-a
c

a
CD

rHU

5
UNOSOOK

0
?

U3 H < l-i H

3
<

u z k.

a. J i

m e

S in

'

< Q
~

Ki

i-i

3
a

'

;sHsa:fa

o,

!ll3iSM!3liiSEsh

67

Oil Shale Processing Methods

BG NOT

'

DEVONIAN SHALES

CRETACEOUS
outcio^i

PARA-

PARAlgA

AM A / ON A

SHALES Of MARANHAO
cootf-iuu o.

coaoa-

OA OI!C
CEARA-

CRETACEOUS
OUTCAO**

CRETACEOUS

SHALES Of
CAATO

SHALES Of AlASQAS

%U Maiaui fo Sul
CWtTAXEOUS SHALES Of BAHIA
OUTCROP*

HAAAkl

TERTIARY SHALES Of SAO PAULO


^

OUTCAOP

OO AAA.iUl

aALl

AMAPA'

SHALES

(S)

BRASILIA

SHALES

PERMIAN SHALES Of IRATI

12.Location map.

Figure

^^^
^$JL

-*
upper

zn

LA,6rf

r'c,,4"e T,":"^S .Nifo

SHiL

flvl HAOt

5^f^TT^T^T-7
i

r_

'
,

NTEf.Hf.URTt

0>

rL,0T HASt

'

*"*W

lAl(H

l o*

f I '[
-

-_L.

oi

-1

Of

7^.,h
i
j_

*'Wy

.^

8
.

Oil

5.L"sHALf "i:.^ 'f^ns.wumi


*

*-_s I-

_
T{RS^~

6^0 Mf

".

TH.CANfS',..NTfcAL

A.fWAot %

r7^. rp
L

/ONES

DH.

BASf

.'ON.*

;
?

8 60 MfliRS

U0%

;jh

*f

-i
-

_J.

17^
J_.1
i
i

Figure

,i

13. Typical

n*r
i

cut

jrs
rr^nr

of

,
"

'-^^-J -

Irati formation.

''

'

'

I
';;;
!

68

Quarterly

OIL

SEAL

of the

SHALE

Colorado School

Mines

of

FEED

GAS-

r
HIGH BTU GAS

FEED HOPPER

PRODUCT FOR

PURIFICATION

*=*

SHALE
ELECTROSTATIC

DISTRIBUTOR

CONDENSER

PRECIPITATOR

CYCLONE

^1

DC

COMPRESSOR

SEPARATOR

LIGHT

SHALE
OIL

HEAVY

SHAIE OIL
WASTE
WATER

COOL GAS

RETORTED SHALE

FACILITIES

SEAL SYSTEM

WATER

RETORTED SHALE SLURRY


TO DISPOSAL

14. Petro-six process

Figure

flow diagram.

10.Petrosix process shale oil specifications

Table

Density, API
Diolefins, wt. %
Corrosion, 3 hr. @ 122F.
Sulfur, wt. %
Nitrogen, wt. %
Paraffin, wt. %

19.6
15.0

Strip

1.06

0.86

0.02

Aniline point, F
Pour point, F

Viscosity
At 2000 tons
should

yield

elemental

of

100 F,

sulfur

86
25

shale

20.76

centistokes

Brazilian Irati formation

1000 b/d

The Petrosix
shale.

at

ASTM 4a

oil

shale/day

oil, 1.28 MMcfd fuel gas,

input,

the plant

14 tons

of

United States

oil

and

daily.
process

has

not

been demonstrated

on

Oil Shale Processing Methods

69

CITED REFERENCES
Bruni, C. E., 1971, Brazilian oil shale development: Eighth World Petroleum
Congress, Moscow.
Clampitt, R. L., 1971, Gas combustion retorting performance in a large demonstration
retort:
100th Ann. Mtg., Am. Inst. Mining Metall. Petroleum Engineers, Mar.
Cramer, R. H., 1969, Evaluation of pilot plant results from the gas combustion retort
ing process for oil shale: 90th Ann. Mtg., Am. Inst. Mining Metall. Petroleum

Hall,

Engineers.
R. N., and
production

Yardoumian, L. H., 1968,

by

the TOSCO II

process:

The economics of commercial shale oil


61st Ann. Mtg. Am. Inst. Chem. Engi

neers.

A. E., 1971, Some results from the operation of a 150-ton oil shale retort:
U.S. Bur. Mines Tech. Prog. Rept. 30.
Hubbard, A. B., 1965, Automated Fischer retorts for assaying oil shale and bituminous
materials: U.S.*Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 6676.
Lenhart, A. F., 1969, The TOSCO process economic sensitivity to the variables of
production:
34th Midyear Mtg., Am. Petroleum Inst., Am. Inst. Mining Metall.
Petroleum Engineers, Chicago.
Ruark, J. R., et al., 1971, Gas combustion retorting of oil shale under Anvil Points
lease agreement: Stage II: U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 754.
Stanfield, K. E., and Frost, I. C, 1949, Methods of assaying oil shale by a modi
fied Fischer retort: U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 4477. (Revision, R. I. 3977).
Stanfield, K. E., et al., 1951, Properties of Colorado oil shale: U.S. Bur. Mines Rept.
Inv. 4825.

Harak,

UNCITED REFERENCES

Feldman, H. F.,

et

al.,

1966,

Production

of pipeline

Inst. Gas Technology, Res. Bull.


W.
Schlinger,
G., 1966, Hydrotorting of oil
shale:

York.

no.

gas

by

hydrogasification

of

oil

36.

shale:

Am.

Chem. Soc. Nad. Mtg., New

OIL SHALE AND THE ENERGY SITUATION

Wayne E. Glenn

very thoughtful

appreciate

of you

shale and

the

to invite me, and I

tomorrow, my focus

problems.

In the process, I

shale oil can

be

expected

it

The American

was called

ages

it

embargo caused real

negatives,

but it

break

we can

the

lives

also

old

of

motorists on

the country

aspects of

lost

who

The

people on oil
subject

today

America's energy
the

about

role

at

habits

such a

embargo

lasting

trying

and

impres

circumstance;

the energy

short

practically every American. For many

the east coast and thousands of workers

their jobs

hardships. The
had

usually leaves

through

went

oil embargo.

touched the

around

the broader

this

offer some observations

will

just

caused

people, particularly

on

circumstances

people

the Arab

be

much

to play in the total picture.

Learning from trying


sion.

many knowledgeable

with which you will examine

will

how

to emphasize

want

was

be here.

presence of so

the thoroughness

It

to take part in this symposium.

with you

the opportunity to

Recognizing
and

to be

am pleased

least

due to

cutoff of

one plus:

economic

Mideast

it

oil

showed us

slowdowns, the

had
that

amounts

and conserve substantial

bundle

of

as a nation

energy in

of

process.

In my opinion, the worst thing that could happen in the coming


weeks and months is for the public to think that with oil beginning to flow
into the United States from the Middle East again,
that

conservation

energy

we can

go

barred"

type of

If that

wasteful consumption

happens,

we could

As the Arab

embargo

all

bets

are off on

back to the "burn it up, no holds


that got us in a fix in the first place.

be in trouble

again

and soon!

illustrated, dependence

on

imported

oil

is the

in America's energy supply situation. There is always the


that a flare-up or resumption in hostilities between the Arabs

real soft spot

possibility
and Israel

could set off another oil embargo against

Uncertainty
which

that

about

the

is in the Middle

we

President,

look for

answers

continued

Eastmakes

to

our

availability

it both

energy

Western Hemisphere Petroleum

the United States.


of

foreign

reasonable

problems right

oil

and

most of

imperative

here in

our own

Division, Continental Oil Company.

71

Quarterly

72

of the

Colorado School

Mines

of

country.
problem
three things
only three basic pieces to the energy
be done to improve the supply situation for the short term, the

There
that

must

are

term

medium

First,

and

just

third,
it

use

a new

two

as well:

of

be built;

must

America's energy

all of

resources

and

them;
to

conserve

energy

wherever possible and

more efficiently.

these pieces for

at each of

lies

the task that

few

to get

minutes

feel

some

ahead.

capacity is already short. At least 4 years is required to


grass roots plant. Based on projected increases in consump
into

tion,

without

new

150,000

with

domestic demand.
A few

haul

fully develop

we must continue

magnitude of

Refinery
build

we must
one or

Let's look

for the

long

domestic refinery capacity

more

second,
not

for the

taking

account

barrel-a-day

refineries will

have been

new refineries

a number of expansions

this effort, the

the impact

is

well

needed

constructed

facilities

to existing

industry

be

conservation

every

may

year

have, five

keep

to

up

in the last few

years and

But

even with

are underway.

behind the timetable

forced to play

and

catch-up.

Some

people ask

plans made

is that the

finery

to improve the

has been

opposition,

stalled

of actual

toward refinery construction.

imports, is continuing

Onassis found this

getting its

down

out

to

The

According
build

years at a

reject

recently

As

limit the

else.

three primary reasons:

we still

efforts

to

lack

answer

new re

environ

by

15

site

dependent

refineries

New Hampshire.

in

there.

on

Mr.

Meanwhile,

in

repeatedly that his state was


two Maryland counties were voting

protested

These

companies

18 locations along the


of adequate

amount of gasoline

a realistic attitude

area most

are not

to the National Petroleum Refiners

of

But

more refineries.

coast, the

new refineries.

result, the lack

made available

crude oil

to build

new refineries

total

The

critical.

and

the availability of crude supplies,

east

share of gasoline while

attempts

tions to

for

shortages,

Maryland, Governor Mandel has


not

wasn't anticipated

capital requirements.

Even in the face

oil

for

need

uncertainties about

the tremendous

and

the

shortage

before it became

situation

industry did foresee

construction

mental

why the refining

isolated

cases.

Association,

have been

rejected

applica

in

recent

eastern seaboard.

refining capacity

will

and other petroleum products

to the American consumer,

regardless of

how

is brought into the country from the Middle East

continue

that
much

can

to

be

foreign

or anywhere

Oil Shale
Even

with an accelerated effort

capacity, the

be

at

least,

at

to

beon

doing

to

achieve

expand

importantbut

to

possible

everything

independence"

calls

energy self-sufficiency

in domestic energy

energy

to

industry

being

efforts

by

for

that gap

1980. The kind

bring
can bring

years

of acceleration

progress

proposed will

I seriously doubt that 6

an allout national

to

us

self-sufficiency in meaningful terms. As a


become self-sufficient by 1980 if we increased domestic
put

duction 37

That

in just 6

But that's
nuclear

and

that's

a position of

plants and

19

shale oil

this is

plants, 13

1980

also means

oil-from-coal

of

from

field. Current lead

this

to the

dollars

times on

the 1980 time

on

moment

winds

were

most of

forthcoming

these

time

for

if

435

from

Many

is

all

threw

that the necessary

oil

company

profits

projects still would push completion

coal mines

years

is 2 to 5

to

bring

on a new oil

The

years.

new nuclear

years.

environmental questions remain

the public

If

irresponsibly

we

In reality, conditions are not perfect. And that's


statement. National energy policy is still not clear.

standably,

9,000

building

a sour note.

assumed

and

frame. It takes 3 to 10

plants will require about

is lagging.

production

plants, 30 gas-from-coal

somehow, there's

orchestrated

constraint

billion

basic lead

outside

coal

This undertaking would bring thousands


billions of dollars of hardware in operation.

action and

all

environmental
of

increased

and

more oil and gas wells and

Self-sufficiency by

conditions were perfect

hundreds

oil and gas pro

geothermal plants.

into

Even if

190,000

nation we could

years.

not all.

plants, 8

of people

would mean

1970,

to

percent as compared

percent.

coal mines

the

close

self-sufficiency.

Let's

176

its refinery

it from widening any further.

keep

President Nixon's "project


effort

the

gap between domestic energy supply and demand will


least the next several years. And that's where the focus

of our attention should

or,

by

73

wide

for

with us

Energy Situation

and the

becoming increasingly

a considerable under

Necessary legislation

unresolved, and,

confused and

under

angry

about

energy issues.

So,
of

what can we expect

the energy

equation.

energy demand is
mates range

Council to

dustrial

from
low

There

expected

high

of

1.7

growth was cut

by

of

1980?

are several estimates of

to grow

4.2

First, let's look

during

the

percent per year

percent suggested

to the bare

by

next

by

at

the

how
6

demand

much

years.

side

domestic

These

esti

the National Petroleum

the Ford

Foundation, if

in

minimum.

at 3 per
The Federal Energy Office's estimate falls in the
cent a year.
Using the FEO figure as an average, total domestic energy
demand is expected to reach the equivalent of 92.9 quadrillion Btu by
middle

74

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

1980. Current demand is running


Contrast this projection with

be in 1980. The

to

pected

75.5

at about
what

domestic energy

energy available from domestic


81.3 quadrillion Btu. That means threre will
estimate of

and

demand

of

11.5

half million barrels

Btu

quadrillion

day )

of oil per

is

each source

expected

percent;

coal, 25 percent;

percent;

gas

from

from

crease
plied

by

levels,

present

these two

to

fuels

prefer,

from now, is
gap between supply
years

about

to

be

available

five-and-one-

stimulation,

in

1980, here's
gas, 61.3

oil and

hydroelectric,

power, 8.2 percent;

0.7 percent;

geothermal,

percent.
account

that oil and gas production

the

although

in

will

total energy sup

percentage of

decline. Greater

will

be

still

supplies are ex

the most optimistic

conventional

play:

nuclear

0.5 percent; and shale oil, 0.3


This projection takes into

sources

you

expected

or nuclear

coal

not

annually.

Of the total domestic energy


the part

if

(or,

Btu

quadrillion

realistic, though

most

Mines

of

contributions

by

the

other

up the difference.
But there still will be an 11.5 quadrillion Btu energy shortfall in
1985 that must be met by imported oil. If our goal is energy self-suffici

energy

sources will make

by

ency

that

time, let's

domestic energy
shale

see what we can

resources.

One

of

do

to

these is the

fill the gap with one of our


focal point of this meeting:

oil.

Assuming

that production

levels,

at about present

jump from
barrels

the

of

conventional

contribution

absolutely nothing in 1974 to

of oil per

100,000 barrels

per

necessary

by

an output

in

remains

shale oil requires a

excess of

12

million

1980. Contrast that, if you will, with the more


shale oil's contribution in 1980:
197 trillion Btu, or

day

realistic estimate of

sources

energy

in

day. This

gives you some

idea

of

the

difficulty

the

faces in achieving energy self-sufficiency so quickly.


Of course it is not logical or practical to expect shale oil to carry so
much of the load in the early 1980s.
Certainly the potential is there. It
nation

has been
exceed,

estimated

all

the crude

be felt

oil won't

Coal is only
energy
and

that

until

oil

But the
at

be tapped to

help

number of other

to

domestic

bridge the gap between supply

recovery for

realistic

to

shoot

oil

for

in

known

50

reservoirs

percent

is 31

recovery

years

creased

or

contribution of shale

but only if free market prices can be the carrot that


the development of better recovery techniques. If recovery
15

to,

the earliest.

the solution.

alone are equal

are some examples.

present rate of

We believe it is

in Saudi Arabia.

one part of

demand. Here

deposits in Colorado

late into the 1980s,

sources also can

The

shale

50-percent average, this

would mean

the

percent.

rate within
encourages

can

be in

addition of more

Oil Shale

billion barrels

than 80

and the

to

of crude oil

almost as much oil as was produced

following

first

the

Energy Situation

domestic

75

That is

proved reserves.

in the United States in the 100

drilled in this country in 1859.

oil well

When the trans-Alaska

finally is built, about two-and-a-half


begin flowing from Alaska's north slope

pipeline

barrels of oil a day


lower 48 states. This

million

will

to the

also will spur substantial exploration

to

confirm whether

fields

smaller

The

or

Bay find is a "unique


several large deposits.

the Prudhoe

only

one of

outer continental

the United

shelf of

domestic

as

Recently,

the President's Council on Environmental

a source of substantial

it"an

development along
This

acceptable

study by
tion in the

the

council on

the

coastal waters

from Maine to Florida.

in the Gulf

no sale

Mexico. But

Atlantic coast,

even

oil

and

an area of

gas

Quality

came

impact

environmental

of

in

Interior has

has

after

that

they

put

year-long

1973

During

been held

though the U.S. Geological

supplies.

of oil and gas produc

accelerated offshore

yet

greatest

reported

the eastern seaboard isas

recommendation

far in 1974, the Department


of

new

activity

giant"

States holds the

potential

offshore petroleum

years

and

thus

lease

sales

on acreage off the

Survey

there

estimates

may be up to 58 billion barrels of crude oil and 222 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas out there. And that's more than the proved domestic reserves
of oil and close
council will

These

be

to the total
a

for

step in the direction

are ways

to

add

Hopefully,

natural gas.

to the

this

of east coast offshore

report

by

the

development
The

key to
developing

nation's petroleum supply.

ending energy shortages in this country once and for all lies in
in reducing our dependence on petroleum.
America's full energy
This can be achieved only through greater contributions by every energy
potential

resource at our

among

disposalshale

oil, coal,

nuclear power and synthetic

fuels,

others.

But to do this, the

nation can no

longer

afford

the

provincial attitude

has delayed domestic energy development on so many fronts. You


know what I'm referring to: the mistaken belief that certain parts of the
country can block the development of energy supplies in their own areas
that

and still expect

to have

ample supplies

provided

by

other parts

the

of

nation.

There

was a

time

when

heat

their

homes

mobiles and
states and

I
at

submit

their

energy

the

coal mined

in

the

rest of

the nation could run their auto

with oil and gas produced

another

handful

of states.

that if all Americans want to continue to

fingertips,
and

then all Americans must

That

era

handful
has

have energy

not obstruct

the location of processing plants and

leads to their own doorstep.

by

the

of

ended.

available

search

terminals even

for

if it

76

Quarterly
We

to

have

also must

Prices

work.

in the process,

There's

The

the

The

domestic

more

oil and

to

of

we will

energy

lies in

in

one

use, and,

We

but

need

no

basket. It's

to

not an

eggs

a number of

forth.

and so

a chance

available.

put all our eggs

nuclear

to

and

one

new

oil, gas, coal,

them

and

the

stream, making greater

use

need

all

on

or

finding

and

more

producing

it's going to take time before


energy supplies. In the meantime, we

to

choice:

the

make

fuels

plants,

thing is

one

gas,

really have only


policies

be

will

synthetic

these things can add

of

any

to

answer

bringing

building

coal,

not

it

better.

Whether it's
of

kind

to America's energy problems,

synthetics

oil, nuclear,

sooner

is

Mines

of

marketplace and give

the

domestic energy

key

either/or situation.
shale

determine

no panacea

panic either.

in the

confidence

will then

more

Colorado School

of the

certain:

continue

follow

to

strict

most efficient use of available

conservation

fuels.

Conserving sizable amounts of energy is the best possible equivalent


developing new oil fields, building coal mines and siting nuclear plants.

And that is
in

are

what we'll

If

progress.

have to do

longer-term developments

these

while

we underrated conservation

earlier,

do it

we must not

now.

For example, if we save 10 percent on our total energy consumption,


that is the same as developing 200,000 new oil wells at present low U.S.
production

levels. It is the

same as

A study
the United States
annually.

uses

211

developing
published by

is the

our standard of
report adds.

same as

the Ford Fundation

could

living

That's

or

new coal mines.

It

additional nuclear plants.

could save almost as much

This

2,930

developing

be

says

that

energy

achieved without

by

2000,

the year

each year as

reducing the

it

now

growth

in

significantly changing life styles, the Foundation

a rather optimistic prediction and

naturally depends

in continuing to drive slower,


in eliminating unnecessary travel, in carpooling where possible, and in

on

the

taking

other

energy-saving

Conservation is
important is

develop
will

an

in the

essential
effort

all-out

1985 to

and

by

one of

that the

meet

the most

the

world's

expensive

Equally

situation.

industry

in the

and

now

must

energy

petroleum

of money.

industry

free

current

the

the energy America needs

estimates

public

steps.

take a staggering amount

York

be

the American

cooperation of

to

find

future. That

Chase Manhattan Bank

spend

energy

of

and

effort

New

$1.3 trillion between 1970

requirements.

privately financed

projects

That
in the

effort will

history

of

man.

To

get the

job done

will

take a

lot

more

than money,

however. A

Oil Shale
national commitment also

and the

is

needed

toward permanent solutions to

Some

say that

skeptics

that private

petroleum

public's requirements

The

way.

ice to the

our

By

problems.

energy

are not capable of

any industry's

ful:

the American

been

provided with ample supplies of

and

Great
ahead.

But

living

unprecedented

challenges
as

I travel

face the
around

wealth of

I'm

knowledge,

confident

is its

energy

view

it

another

record of serv

in the

at reasonable prices.

propel

history

nation's

of

experience and

that the challenges of the

talking

you

will

be

bring

years

with

of A.I.M.E.and

dedication

future

the world.

energy industries in the

the membership

It has

the United States to

the country, meeting and

men and women who comprise

the

responding to the

the 1970s. I
success

all

oil

been this low-cost energy that has helped


standard of

for

industry has been very success


American industry traditionally have

this standard, the

consumer

fronts

started right now on all

complex world of

ultimate criterion of

public.

to get

the present situation shows once and

companies

in the

77

Energy Situation

the
see

to the task

met successfully.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL STORY

H. Michael Spence

My
tion

in correcting,

negligent

will once and

for

as anyone who

of

of

the

to

discuss

to

this,

mental

scheme and

regulatory

would

paper which

discuss in

to

the

business undertaking
One

as

considerable

terms the environ

general

administration of environmental work

developer

of oil shale.

facility

involves the

which

is

very large

commitment

of

and

large

the orchestration of many varied components to


these

of

the investment decision

components which

has

a significant effect

timing of the project is the en


be performed. My discussion today will be

and on

vironmental work which must

toward the

have

and reviewed on

included in

are

construction of a commercial oil shale

a reality.

fact,

In

the substantive components of an oil

standpoint of a prospective

amounts of capital and

geared

definitive

environmental work must

and which

like

on

and was

select,

Statement for the Federal Prototype Oil Shale

Leasing Program,

become

not

have been discussed

which

the Environmental

complex

I did

which

kind.

study,

occasions similar

The

trepida

undertaken with some

suggests an expansive and

attempt

shale environmental

from the

my talk,

has been involved in

Rather than

is

all settle and resolve all environmental matters.

sumed, it is nothing

detail in

symposium

The title

and uneasiness.

many

in this

participation

the

management and administration

of various major en

Colorado.
Throughout this talk, some distinctions will be made of the differences
between development on private lands and development of federal lease
vironmental

lands. At
and

the

present

relate

time,

there is a significant,

oil shale

occur
of

tasks as they

to

there

an oil shale project

are

federal lease tracts in Colorado

two

relatively smaller, amount of private


both of these types of land is likely to

of

in the future. Because the federal leases

vironmental

and regulation,

stipulations,

they

as well as

are

to

subject

quirements which are net applicable

to

operational

plans, the

are subject

specific

to

to

large

lease terms

special

body

and en

environmental

lands. For example, the


monitoring, the development

compliance with

substantial

Vice President, Environmental Affairs, The Oil Shale Corporation, Golden, Colorado.

79

re

private

performance requirements of environmental

of certain specific

western

although

land. Development

federal law

in

re-

Quarterly

80

Colorado School

of the

of

Mines

porting requirements, the need for approval by the mining supervisor of


all field operational activities, and the liaison with, and review by, the Oil
Shale

Panel will, perhaps,

Advisory

federal land

the

closely and intensively


energy development project in this country.
as

Finally,
to

proper

business

fashion,

and

meet

the

with

comply

federal

of

it must, in

First,

purpose.

leases,

objectives

in

timely

requirements

of

the contractual terms of

lease.

the

Secondly,
be

its

least two

must accomplish at

properly
and
in the case
regulation,

law,

on

scrutinized and managed

most

industrial projects,

attain

scheduled

operations

shale

the environmental management of an oil shale project, not

unlike other

order

oil

constitute

able

to

importance,

and of equal

the

communicate

public and

be translated into

environmental

carry

in

out

impossible

trained

mind

decision making
obligation

is

perhaps

great

requires

which

insignificant

will, in

the

most

diplomacy,

detail,

to the

gathered

in terms

distinguish between the

to

and significant and

judgmental factors

information

project management

because it

practice

termination,

to

This latter

environment.

environmental manager must

environmental

government, the

fit the

the

can

which

fact, bene
difficult to
strong de

possible and the

and an

ability to

weigh

carry out decsions. It requires analytical


In the final analysis, communication with

and make and

skills and communication skills.

facets of the government


public, and industry will be the determin
ative factor between what becomes an environmentally acceptable project
all

,the

and one which ends

The
are all

This

in

environmental

environmental

manager's

environmentalists,

diversity

of

we

do

litigation.

problem

although

we

not all agree on environmental solutions.

among the

opinion

because

arises

same

species

is illustrated

by

an

I heard recently concerning a missionary traveling in the jungle


lion which he encountered. The missionary was overcome with fear

anecdote
and a

for his life

the

as

decided his only


After

several

looked up

lion

in

salvation was

minutes

and

to

his

ready to devour him.

appeared

when

prayer which

he had

surprise

not yet

too."

said

the missionary

"Yes,"

said

praying for

the

lion, "But

salvation.

am

been

he found the lion

"Oh,"

praying.

he began

with

there is

relief, "I

with some

fervor.

the missionary

eaten

was

also on

see you are a

difference between
The

saying

The missionary

moral of

us.

his knees
Christian
You

are

that story may be

searching for salvation, we may


there. And while the discretionary

that although we are all environmentalists


all

have different

management

views as

to how to get

decision making

of an environmental manager

to definition than the mandatory

clearly

a requirement

for

requirements of a

a successful project.

lease

is less

or of

subject

law,

it is

81

The Environmental Story

The

is devoted to

remainder of this talk

some

the specific pro

of

ceduralif not theologicalsteps which are required on

the way to en

vironmental salvation.

The first

major environmental

Environmental
established

healthy

any

of

Through its

impact

1969,

the National

national

of

maintaining

federal

environmental

of

statement

to the time the

analysis prior

of

enhancing the renewable


requirements, NEPA requires the

detailed

policy

and

preserving

procedural

NEPA

called

commonly
a

purposes

and consideration

preparation

and

of

and

environment,

environment.

setting

other

among

federal level is

the

at

"NEPA."

Act

Policy

law

government takes

major action.

The

(which is generally

required statement

"impact

an

an

referred

to as

"NEPA

"environmental

or

"Section 102 statement") is beginning to become reasonably well defined


in scope and detail through practice and litigation, and it is beyond the
scope of

have

my talk, today, to

it,

not yet seen

vironmental

Program is

outline

those matters in

U.S. Department

the

of

detail. For

the Interior

six-

those

volume

Impact Statement for the Federal Prototype Oil Shale


excellent

an

of

point

who

En

Leasing

departure for those interested in the

content of such statements.


"major"

The

and seems

of

federal

question of what constitutes a

likely

interpretation

to

litigation. The tendency


federal policy has been to give a broad applica

continue

and of

has been,

action

to

be,

a subject of

"major"

tion to the term

and

to

the impact

use

statement procedure

in

many decisions which in other contexts might not seem to be major


From the viewpoint of the developer, the determination of
actions.
whether a

which

has

federal
serious

act

is

major poses a question of project risk and

implications. If the

is

question

agency determines that its action is not


and if that determination
statement is

major

an

developer

delay can be enormous

such

Alaska
those

tives

bears the

who

pipeline.

In terms

costs can amount


of cost

saving

and

fully and carry out all


With

respect

to

risk

and

as evidenced

of capital costs

to

the

millions of

certainty

oil shale

dollars

of

be

an

planning
the

at

the

need

impact

costs

the

inflationary

per month.

and

wrong, it is

delay. The

of

trans-

economy,

The twin incen

strong impetus to

development,

no

the extreme case of

alone, in

create a

environmental

by

costs

to

timing

legally,

and, thus,

proves

required

the

a close one

consider care

earliest possible

for NEPA

date.

statements

two circumstances. First an impact statement


may arise most obviously in
is required for any significant leasing program as in the case of the Proto
type Oil Shale Leasing Program. Since the Environmental Statement has

been

prepared

for the Prototype Program, the

principal

NEPA

question

82

Quarterly

remaining is

Colorado School

of the

terior in carrying out its responsibilities

federal

major

Plans

lease terms,
suggested

will

that

From the

largely
the

The

action

separate

development

preparation

various

for

leading

water

projects

significant

actions

federal

which

statements

is

considered.

plan

shale plants and

If the

addressed.

be

hearings it

NEPA,

may trigger

and

from the

rights-of-way

the

impacts

actions

federal

occur,

the

of

NEPA

lands. That

by

need

oil shale

to the

for

is

For

matters.

or

exam

federal

required, if

are

if

other

takes

major

place

requiring
NEPA statement must be
a second question

whether a

NEPA

statement

impacts"

of

"secondary

under

the statement to cover the environmental

facilities. In

connected plant and related

that

Para

near

chute

which

only the

off-site product pipeline which

NEPA requirement, but

also

be

contacts

Colony Development Operation, on private land


Creek, has conducted a 2/2 year environmental study
not

that

state

regard, the

compasses

re

statement will

are required over

government

second question

scope
of

likely

rights-of-way

activity, through the doctrine

expands

be

will

plants on private

to that question is affirmative,

This

have

groups

seems certain

impact

involve ancillary

directly

the

the

management, that question is

to

and

question of need

answer

considered.

an off-site

the

by

performed

impact

public

arises

corridor

utility

be

approvals and permits which relate

requiring federal

federal action,

setting

to

up to those hearings.

significant product pipeline

if

for

or

equally to lease tracts

lands,

must

in

plants, but

tween oil

to

the Detailed De

on

environmental

second potential major action which

developers for

major

Some

NEPA.

standpoint of environmental

or combination of

oil shale

amount

the existing Environ

with

work

environmental

supplemental

procedures

ment applies

ple, if

together

which

with

comply

hearings

public

substance and analysis which goes with an

in the

occur

the

and

since

moot,

full

lessees,

of

the time the final

quired at

for

program provides

Statement

mental

lease terms

the

under

the In

of

actions.

The lease
velopment

the Department

by

subsequent actions

whether

Mines

of

the

plant and off-site

en

may trigger the

activities on private

land. Those studies, which were caused to be carried out by Colony, have
been delivered to the Bureau of Land Management for its evaluation and
use

in NEPA

compliance which

In summary,
ties

of private

under

lands,

the

is

now underway.

federal lease terms


likelihood

of

NEPA

development is high. Under lease terms,


cation

is

not

which are

required, the

by

application

even

NEPA. On

private

to early oil

if technical NEPA

environmental work required

incorporated in the lease terms

those required

or under off-site related activi

by

shale
appli

the stipulations

are equivalent or greater

lands, because

of

the

than

potential

for

83

The Environmental Story


involvement

off -site

holder in

with

the Piceance

the

Basin,

federal government,
the

and

which

is

land

a major

from

time penalties resulting

severe

failure to carry out early environmental planning, the need for, and likeli
hood of, detailed environmental and ecological evaluation is high.
The

second

of

system

environmental

is

regulation

air

quality
implementation
program, the
quality
quality regulations in Colorado rests with the

Under the federal-state

control.

direct

major

administration of air

air

Colorado Air Pollution Control Commission.


From the developer's
requires

that both

early in

order

air pollution control compliance

view,

meteorological and air

quality

be initiated

work must

baseline data to carry out environmental


to be prepared to demonstrate compliance

establish

design,

and

ning

to

point of

and

plan
with

emission and permit regulations.

The

for baseline data is important both from the

need

regulatory

control evaluation and

plant operations.

the

Modeling

for legal

dispersion

and

work.

quality and meteorological


Related to this work is the

design

of pollution

air

control

protection

connection with

studies are an essential part of

for design

programs

project

and

planning
and

evaluation

engineering
are

which

systems

in

standpoint of

for the APCC

required

construction permit application.

Colorado APCC Regulation 3


an

Authority

to Construct

Control Division for

formal

quality

Early

control equipment.
project

to

scheduling

obtain adequate

and ambient standards

The
on

air

quality

The third

major

level. Regulation

building

appear

and on private

tier

of

Rio Blanco
county-wide

applicable

by

collection

land

for

regulations.

division

to industrial operations,

of

and emission

for

essential

are

Failure

with emission

development

is

the county

at

through zoning regulations,

use controls.

the

of

In

regulation

occurs

use of

which most of

County (the location

upon

lands.

this level usually

County, (in
zoning

design

to apply equally to

environmental

regulations provide

Both Garfield

the

or

regulations and related

Zoning

lowed

at

data

by

of commencement of construction.

regulations

federal lease tracts

review

ability to demonstrate compliance


can potentially result in costly delay.

data

obtain

based

permits are

and of plant

and

planning

timing

and

These

thorough engineering

meteorology data

and

to

Permit to Operate from the Air Pollution

and a

new emission sources.

applications and a

staff of air

requires new emission sources

the

most

land for

lands

private

federal

connection

particular purposes.

land)

with

are

have

certain use

special or conditional uses

special or conditional use permits.

held)

Procedures for

and

enacted

of

land

may be

al

public hear-

84

Quarterly

ings and preparation

of the

of an

Colorado School

impact

statement

by

the

of

Mines

applicant

may

also

be

required.

Experience
operations.

under

these regulations is limited at this time

However,

the requirements

for impact

be generally no more severe than those


NEPA work is adequately performed, it
permit

applications.

separately

and considered

again significant

The
the

However,

delays

foregoing

in

suffice

if

for county

be

administered

timing

schedules or

must

plant

Thus,

to

could occur.

major

environmental

principal areas of work.

specific regulations and

laws

in this discussion.

My

ered

with

NEPA.

by

also

these applications

connection

statements appear

required

should

for industrial

There is,
which

of

regulatory areas illustrate only


course, in addition, a long list of

apply

purpose

and which

have

not

been

cov

has been to generally indicate

scope and extent of environmental regulation and

to

emphasize

the

that early

planning and action on environmental matters must be done to avoid costly


delays. An understanding of the interrelationships among the various
environmental

effectively.

regulatory

schemes

is

essential

to

carry

out

that

work

COLORADO'S INVOLVEMENT IN SOLVING


ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS OF OIL SHALE
DEVELOPMENT
John W. Rold

The title
Problems

of

for this

theme

the

each of

portion of
problem

in

papers, it is

oil shale

evident

the titles

that each

the

Evaluating

State

paper

the total

Colorado,

of

it

for the

for

and speakers

here

constitutes a

program and

my

would seem appro

role

in

obvious major environ

development.

Colorado first became officially involved in oil


when Governor Love appointed an Oil Shale
objective of

title or a

itself to addressing Colorado's

predict and provide solutions

the

"Environmental

or a possible solution of an environmental

paper should restrict

mental problems of oil shale

Admittedly,

as

serve as a

actually

one evaluates

development.

oil shale with

that my

attempting to

ago

As

the cause, the effect,

background in
priate

could

entire meeting.

other

program

Development"

Oil Shale

of

indicated in the

paper

my

that

committee was

shale

nearly 10

years

Advisory Committee.

in tune

with

attempting to initiate and aid the development


As such, that committee had a reasonable impact

the times,

and consisted of

of our oil

shale resources.

on earlier

abortive attempts

development
In
shale

of

1970,

leasing
of

develop

both

federal

program,

asked

First, "Is

development

program,

and

to

encourage

Interior, in evaluating a potential oil


Colorado, Wyoming and Utah two very im
of

the

and

leasing

federal lands.

private and

the Department

portant questions.

impact

to

technology

adequately

development?"

protect

the costs of such re

prevent

economically

to minimize the

the environment in the

Second, "Would

areas of oil shale


quired environmental protection

now available

the

establishment

industry?"

of a viable oil shale

In
and

order

to determine the

answers

his Oil Shale Advisory Committee

chairmanship
nomics of

of

John B.

Tweedy,

set

called

Environmental Protection

Director, Colorado Geological Survey


Environmental Problems, Denver, Colo.

to these questions, Governor Love

Vice

85

subcommittee,

under the

the Special Committee on Eco

( SCEEP )

and

up

The

Chairman,

subcommittee sought

Committee

on

Oil Shale

86

Quarterly

from knowledgeable

representation

state agencies and

in

January 1971,

of

the

"state

from

able

This

of

to the

the

ment

from

would not

be

report, "The

recognizing the

approximately 7

for

need

recommendations

as

ment,

( 2 ) The

Joint

local

needing

surface

ap

also made several specific

composed of

fed

develop

and conservation groups.

to evaluate several

information:

water,

development impacts.

and

revegetation,

Thomas W. Ten

Natural Resources,

the committee.

accepted

people

from those federal

the

report

director

and

the

chairman,

and

local

citizen

recom

on

T. W. Ten Eyck

with

the

and rec

The Colorado Committee

(COSEP),

of

appointed a

Oil
as

was established with representa

and state agencies which would affect or

development,
citizens

executive

to evaluate the problems

to their solution.

chairman and myself as vice

Eyck,

Mr. Ten Eyck in March 1971

approximately 50

slope

estimated as

water,

Shale Environmental Problems

western

have been

industry

regional

oil shale

its final

of

agencies concerned with oil shale

vegetation and

ommend approaches

200

and, "The operating costs were


of total
The committee,

wildlife,

of

mendations of

by

this protection

of

Advisory Committee

additional

underground

Governor Love

ed

committee should conduct special studies

(a)
(b)
( c)
(d)

tion

costs

an underground or surface

information,

and representatives of

subjects

committee of

percent

additional

of a

state and

eral,

technology

present

follows:

Establishment

Department

increments for

operating facilities

avail

to protect the environ

Second,

percent of all capital

also estimated as

First,

adequate

were

is

report

$2.00.

committee stated on page

environmental cost

proximately 7

( 1)

The

prohibitive.

mine with retort and

commercial, the

Survey for

impact.

significant negative

re

the Department of Interior

specific conclusions.

the present legal framework

Its

the problem.

understanding description
development and processing I have

permitted a short

two

Colorado

and

best, brief,

the

of oil shale

report reached

attacked

governor and

Colorado Geological

the

Mines

of

interested federal

and

diligently

and

still represents

If I may be

ever seen.

and

industry,

which was presented

port,

Colorado School

of the

governmental

agencies,

representatives

of

and

be

affect

both local

environmental

or

ganizations.

The

committee

SCEEP report, but


of potential oil shale

lems into four

areas:

immediately began
also the

overall

an

long-range

development. They quickly


water;

environmental

not

only the

environmental

problems

evaluation

of

categorized

inventory

and

these

impact;

prob

rehabili-

Colorado's Involvement
tation and revegetation;

Consequently, four
formed

were

and regional

87

Oil Shale Prohlems

in

development

and

land

use planning.

approximately 15 to 20 people each


problem. Each subcommittee was charged

subcommittees of

to address

each

to:

(1)
(2)

define its problem;

evaluate and

delineate

a research proposal or a plan of attack

to

the

solve

problem;

( 3 ) determine a realistic cost and budget;


(4) prepare a list of qualified agencies or
the actual

secured on

requirements

searching, discussion

soul

basis

the

of

totalled

approximately

financial participants,
in table 1.
The

First,
also

the

and

supply from

the impact of

to

make

only

potential

of

The

ing

an

determining

if

velopment of

of

changes

final

date

no oil shale

4-6

in

the impacts

or

of

de

develop

the

agency

Survey.

select

This

the

project

be

published report should

July 1, 1974.

to take place;

plants was

barrel

ecological

not

only

was selected as

which

group

oil shale

day full-scale
a

but

occur

if

upon

a moderate

the

de

impact

and the projected

of

industry. Thorne Ecological

nationally known

with

was also aimed at

would

development took place;

Boulder, Colorado,

environmental

and

highly

experience

considerable

respected

in

similar

other mineral resource extraction prob

the investigator.

Its

project

is

contracted

to

be

com

by January 1975.

The
the

and

research

Piceance Creek Basin. The study

an assumed one million

pleted

and

inventory and impact study was aimed at obtain


oriented inventory of the area of potential oil shale

the

the

environment

lems,

supplies.

environmental

ecologically

problems

and a

assigned completion

development in

Institute

sources, but

mining

the mining

The

problems.

subsurface

the U.S. Geological

has been running very smoothly,


its

the industrial

related

waters on potential
of

one-third

each project are shown

potential

impact

was

through a state-federal cooperative project was

Water Resources Division

available on

funding

obvious surface water

surface and subsurface waters.

this study

to

funds,

to three closely

understood

underground

velopment, and, third, the

both

not

these

con

grants with nominal

company

funds

allocation of

but lesser

abundant

ment on

the

$725,000. After

federal grants,

one-third

exact source of

was addressed

water project

available

Second,

ed

The

government support.

some

negotiations, the

and

state appropriations and one-third private oil

local

conduct

research.

Surprisingly, budget
siderable

consulting firms to

rehabilitation

problems

and

and revegetation

potential

methods

of

study

was

aimed

rehabilitating

and

at

evaluating

revegetating

88

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

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o o o o o
o o o o o

3 O o o o
3 O o o o
3 O o o o

o m o o m

3 ui o m o

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o o o o o o o o o o o O o
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o
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-H

Colorado's Involvement
spent

the site

on and off
shale

during

is knowledgeable in these

Its final

is

completed and

the

involve

would

ultimate conclusion of an oil

throughout the state,

of

Phase Two

which

entailed

soil media and

attitude and climate will continue

elevation,

is

report

development

only the

was selected as

test plots on various

required

land

and

presented a somewhat

use

planning or socio
different problem. Success here

acquisition of additional

land-use-decision-making

development actually

on

1975.

by January

data, but

planning

for in

the establishment of a permanent mechanism

would also require

telligent

disturbed both

surface

Phase One in this investigation has been

A Phase Two final

not

89

Colorado State University, which


land reclamation experience in Colorado and

planting

area of regional

impact

the

for distribution.

available

several years.

economic

of and

problems

under various conditions of

The

life

report of

actual construction and

for

be

areas which would

considerable mined

a contractor.

Oil Shale Prorlems

total industry.

plant or the

mine,

has had

those

and also

shale,

in

basis

regional

when

if

and

oil

Working through local officials


and citizens, an Oil Shale Regional Planning Commission was set up as
Representatives were appointed by the county com
that mechanism.
missioners of Rio Blanco, Garfield and Mesathe three counties directly

shale

Part

impacted.

the

of

an

office.

economic

impact data

but the

Institute

ary

final

their

report

If successful, this
mechanism,
mission or

must

be

no

work

is

these

by

themselves,

much

not

the printers, and

will

it be the

have

no

original

socio

local decision

let through the

a contract was

and

and

staff

additional

the

only

to

Associates, Inc.,

Den

Denver Research

Associates, Inc. Prelimin


as

working

should

be

Oil Shale Regional

Their

available soon.

date.

termination

papers.

successful

Planning

Com

its successor, the Colorado West Area Council of Governments,


permanent, effective and strong factor in planning and imple
socio-economic

exercises

presented not

we

be needed,

have been distributed

project

in

different than any

ning

fact that

the

expended

was

Commission to THK

now at

to be properly

These

study

consultant who subcontracted with

whether

menting if the
ment are

this

Bickert, Browne, Coddington

results of

overall

Planning

planning

and

would

oil companies

Oil Shale Regional


ver-based

funds for

Recognizing

maintain

makers,

took place.

had

only

questions

will

of

this

major

industrial

develop

handled.

research on oil shale

other

answers

neither

impacts

basic

but

research.

environmental problems are

Many times,

the research

additional questions which at

the information

have to be

nor

foresight to

addressed

by

the

anticipate.

individual

has

begin

Many

companies

of
or

governmental agencies.

An

obvious problem

is the immediate fiscal

shortage

that

will occur

Quarterly

90
in

New

velopment.

accrue

hospitals,

This

available

will

is

aimed at

oil

tax

school

facilities,

their wives

from the local

services

systems,

de

shale

water and sanita

facilities,

recreational

and,

and other governmental revenues will

the

has initiated

an

additional

continuing
This project, titled simply "Fiscal
providing local governments with an evalua

funded

Study,"

by

local communities, many of these


for several years after the first facilities are

problem

serious

Mines

be impacted

demanding

transportation

federal-state-privately
Shortfall

influx

Although taxes

be

revenues will not

will

of

oil shale region will arrive with

long-range benefit to

as a

required.

to the

rapid

the jails.

even

that

communities

people

This

communities.

tion systems,

Colorado School

needing, expecting and

and children

yes,

local

the

each of

of the

project.

tion of:

(1)

the

magnitude of

cies and

(2)

the

amount and nature of

list

front

Funding for

currently

available

governmental agen

be
end

available

fiscal

for

use

by

local

and state

financial

to meet these needs;

of potential

alternate

re

and

solutions

that

in solving the

governments

shortfalls associated with rapid growth.

this study is

being

derived

one-third state and one-third private

with a similar one-third

industry

federal,

and will

commitment,

total

$36,000.

some

Because information

ly

local, federal

"recipe

or

might

local

on

local communities;

sources which are

(3)

the initial impact

worthless, all final

possible

reports

distribution.

administrative

federal

without

distribution

will

be

This information

will

and state agencies

to

developers to

who

have

tion

should

an

interest in
allow

also

meet

be particularly

allow

government

essential

the

widest

valuable

to

the setting of reasonable

protection;

to the industrial

efficiently these standards;

either oil shale or

local

be

published and afforded

and yet adequate standards of environmental


oil shale

and use would

and

to

citizens

The informa

the environment.

for

to prepare itself

potential

future development.
The

extensive nature and

sored research

and roster

become

of speakers

presenting final
of

the

apparent when one again

for this

meeting.

Three

progress reports of activities

speakers or

worked on

the influence of this package

their employers

were

of state-spon

evaluates

speakers

funded

by

the

are

program

essentially

the project.

financial participants,

and

Ten

actively

the COSEP Committee.

coordinating the activities of this research


program for the past 4/2 years, I am still impressed with the magnitude
of the potential environmental problems of oil shale development. Several
After closely

things, however,

following

and

give me considerable optimism

that these impacts

can

be

Colorado's Involvement
minimized,

and

government,

The

that the problems

industry

potential

shale

and
oil

billion barrels in beds


worldwide strategic

for this
mental

is

resource

can

target is

of

Oil Shale Problems

be

total society

rich

processed with present

in

solved.

face

such

importance. Economic
so great

that I

be set,

guidelines can

and

immense energy
enough

that it assumes

am

that

not

return and

convinced

shortage.

(600

magnitude

to

be

only

the

mined and

economic

societal

that adequate

technology

that

all now realize

tremendous

thick

enough and

technology),

an

We

91

can

evolve

but

demand
environ

to

meet

Obviously, we do not yet have all the answers to the


problems.
Many answers cannot come until we have an

those guidelines.
environmental

evaluation and a

monitoring program of actual mining and retorting oper


That information will provide additional technological answers to

ations.

both known

beginning

and unforeseen

at a neutral

mation available

and strategic
enough

to

me

to provide

both

in

the

its

role

in the

been

history
in that

made

environmental problems.

objectively evaluating all the infor


432 years, I believe that the economic

past

enough and

that the standards are stringent

adequate environmental protection and a sizeable

environmental

now

available,

impacts

of

and more

oil

shale

than any other comparable industrial

of mankind.
program.

After

and

More information is

evaluation of potential
now

position,

incentive is large

shale oil supply.

have

technical and

The State

of

Colorado

can

study

and

development
development

be justly

proud of

WATER PROSPECTS FOR THE

EMERGING OIL SHALE INDUSTRY


Felix L. Sparks
In 1959 the Colorado Water Conservation Board
sulting firm

of

Cameron

and

Jones to

water requirements of a mature

obvious problem at

That

oil production.

was projected

least
tion

be

industry

barrels

the

considerably thereafter.
For planning purposes, the

day

rels per

was used.

that the

mated

trial growth

It

should

the

be

we are concerned

diversions, because

stream

eventually reach a capacity of at


day. We now believe that this produc
10 to 15

next

years and could

increase

eventual production of one-million

On this basis the Cameron

would require

An

to

Jones

and

consumptive use

noted

at

primarily

the

Colorado River Basin Compact

this

130,000

of

point

indus

acre-feet of

that in the Colorado

with consumptive use rather

Colorado River Compact


allocate waters

bar

report esti

shale oil production and associated municipal and

water per year.

River Basin

Colorado.

would

of oil per

achieved within

within

determine the extent of future shale


be done either then or now. However, it

was

could not

that the

one-million
will

the outset

industry

con

the estimated

make an appraisal of

oil shale

the

employed

to the

and

than

the Upper

various states

based

upon consumptive uses.

In 1954 the Denver Research Institute

barrel

day industry

estimated

that

a one-million

would require a consumptive use of about

145,000

acre-feet of water annually.

The

most recent published estimate

vironmental

issued

estimates as contained

terior increases the

in the

average

in the "Final En
Program,"

Leasing

Interior in 1973. On the

earlier

same production

studies, the Department

consumptive

use

of

water

of

the In

to

an

of

various

estimated

acre-feet per year.

The
panies,

contained

Statement for the Prototype Oil Shale

by the Department of the

155,000

is

Colony

expects

later this

year

Development

to initiate

in

western

Operation,

construction on

a
a

consortium

50,000 barrel

Colorado. Average

daily

Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Denver, Colo.

93

per

production

day

com

plant

from this

94

Quarterly

plant

22

is

On the basis

be

sumption would

Colony

have

and

with a

million

information
the

of

Cameron

at

barrels

industrial

Colony

the

daily

Mines

of

water

consumption

day,

per

the

be identical

in
the

with all other oil shale

is the only

operation

not

Obviously,

requirements.

of

con

water

This does

acre-feet per year.

operation would not

specific

A summary

barrels,

175,000

about

Nevertheless,

operations.

Colorado School

of a

associated municipal

proposed

we

46,000

estimated at

acre-feet.

clude

of the

for

one

which

this time.

various estimates

is

follows :

as

1959, 130,000 acre-feet;


Denver Research Institute in 1954, 145,000 acre-feet;
Department of the Interior in 1973, 155,000 acre-feet;

Colony

and

Jones in

Development Operation in 1974

(extrapolation), 175,000

acre-feet.

As

you can

see, the

strongly

suspect

and we

two estimates

did

disposal,

cessed shale

Neither did the

high

take into account the

revegetation,

earlier estimates

and

the staff

upon

the

of

too

made are

increased
state

take into account the necessity to prevent

and

board believes that

barrel

carbonate, from

all

estimates

industry. Until

shale oil

factors,

heretofore

consumptive use of somewhere

acre-feet of water per year will

day
demonstrated, the

support a million

is actually

250,000

calcium

to environmental and salinity

low. We believe that the

between 200,000

ment

attention

water

pro

the production of electrical energy.

dissolved solids, principally


discharged into the Colorado River.

Based

for

water requirements

concentrations of

being

to

not

have been gradually creeping upwards,


that the true figure will be even higher. The first
estimates

be

required

lesser

require

planning is proceeding

state

this

on

basis.
The

most comprehensive

has been

study

of all aspects of

the oil

consisting

of

conducted extensive

field

experiments

The disposal

relating to
millions

environmental and water


of

tons

pollution

problems.

obviously

presents a problem of gigantic proportions.

vironmental and aesthetic

River from the


practice.

residue

Colony

oil shale

is both

is

dissolved

of

In

shale

contamination of the

solids will not

residue

addition to en

be

Colorado

a permissible

neither permeable nor soluble.

After

pro

permeable and soluble.

group believes that these

compaction and revegetation of

indicate that

of

problems, further

percolation of

In place,

cessing, the

The

industry

shale

by the Colony Development Operation. This group,


Atlantic Richfield, The Oil Shale Corporation and others, has

carried on

the

problems can

shale residues.

proper compaction can reduce

the

be

solved

by

the

Field demonstrations

residual material

to

a state

Water Prospects
impermeability. With

of relative

lizer
3

water, the

and

This

years.

by

ized

significant

water which

in the 1950s

water

the

production, their operations

process

will

follow

question

in Colorado to

water available

environmental
with a

by

aggravates

pattern

figure

impact

of

into

already

also

on

other

If this figure is

acre-feet.

believe that it is many times

the available ground

water

hand,

estimated

an

that

conclusions.

there is

sufficient

day

industry.

per

itself to this

from

point and

a realistic

being

viewpoint,

the environmental statement

ground

storage

water

to indicate

meant

both

process

acre-feet of uncommitted water as

On the

relies

favorable

barrel

statement addresses

160,000

believe this

or not

support a million

this figure is too low.

we

no

stream.

the answer to

we

such

of whether

basis. We believe

use,

is that

problems, it

some as

However,

available on an annual

apparently
25,000,000

into the

to the

will return

much the same

study before reaching

more careful

up

Colony development

has been hailed

All this leads to the

comes

were not computed

suspect that as other companies get

environmental and pollution problems.

The

a period of about

by Colony.

The in-situ

deserves

in

1960s.

and

proposed

We

problem.

ferti

water requirements visual

solve environmental and pollution

supply

established

the

that

requirements

fact in

revegetated

much of

95

and adequate

contouring

it diverts from the Colorado River

While this may


the

be

group

water estimates made

for

process accounts

Colony

the

proper

spoil material can

Oil Shale

for

figure

of

availability for

an

high. However, at least initially,


will be a valuable supplement to

too

supplies

available surface supplies.

There has been

a considerable amount of

study, together

with a con

speculation, concerning the amount of water which


to Colorado under the terms of the Colorado River Com

siderable amount of

is

still available

the Upper

pact and

Colorado River Basin Compact.

The

problem with

any study is that no one can actually define the precise amount of
to which Colorado is entitled under the terms of the compacts. In

some

Basin

of

uncertainties

basic disagreements among the


as

to the

differences
tion.

Based

there

is

will

various states of

obligation of each state

the Mexican Treaty.

in

addi

concerning the compacts, the Mexican Water


1944 further complicates any water supply study. There are

tion to existing

Treaty

water

At

some

be taken to

upon various

the

future time it

Colorado River

release of water

appears

likely

to satisfy
that these

United States Supreme Court for

studies,

no water available

for the

the

for the

some predictions

oil shale

have been

industry. Such

resolu

made

that

predictions are

error.

All

water

supply

studies

are made

by

estimating

the

consumptive

96

Quarterly

use

requirements

Colorado River

of

least 800,000

there is at
annual

basis

conditional

of

is in
ago

used,

decrees. This is true

under

the

for

use

the

of

allocations

by

the

be

further

as

it is

under

interpretations

Mexican

and

unused

water

is

River Basin began to

overshadow

oil shale production.

Since the

years

take place in

took place, the White

exploration

in terms

Valley

water resources

Less than 20
would

activity

Grand

the

the availability of water

required.

major oil shale

Grand Valley. However

the

of

most restrictive

determining

water will

believed that the

was

in

obvious problems

the

all

although

an

industry.

oil shale

where

certainty that
The fact is that

to Colorado on

this currently

of

portion

significant

to

the interstate compacts

under

the

on

impossible,

not

available

acre-feet of water

not

if

an actual usage.

being

determining
it

into

develop

decrees

decrees. It is

now

Water Treaty.
One

is

which

the available

available

difficult,

status of conditional

will not

Mines

of

conditional

and

It is

its tributaries.

and

decrees

such

absolute

existing

determine the future


many

Colorado School

of the

of

of potential

the White River

are

Colorado River, the


furnishing of water for the oil shale industry in the White River Basin
does pose a much greater problem than exists in the Grand Valley.
rather small

as compared

to the

main

In the Grand
open

to the

adequate

water

delivery

the

other course
will

oil

of

Valley area there


shale industry that

water

is the

of

are

two existing courses

would

these

the

of

provide

is to

courses

from existing federal

purchase of

briefly discuss
On

One

supply.

stem

an

immediate

secure

and

for

contracts

projects.

reclamation

existing privately

action

of

The

owned water rights.

these two courses of action.

basis, the existing Green Mountain Reservoir, a


unit of the Colorado-Big Thompson federal reclamation project, could
supply about 50,000 acre-feet of water annually to the Grand Valley area.
a

contractual

The existing Ruedi Reservoir,


reclamation

for

use

in

project,

the

could

Grand

a unit of

supply

Valley

about

the

Fryingpan-Arkansas federal

70,000

acre-feet of water

basis. There is

on a contractual

annually

some con

tingency in the availability of water from Ruedi Reservoir. The potential


Basalt project would use approximately 40,000 acre-feet of water from

Ruedi, but development


municipal and

certainly

industrial

preclude

The

the

not

construction of

velopment of a

that

project

requirement

is in

doubtful

firm

acre-feet

of

water

could

also

be

constructed, West Divide federal


that project

project could supply.

A firm

would almost

reservoir.

provided

from

the

reclamation project.

be dependent entirely upon the de


industrial demand for the water which

will

municipal and

status.

from Ruedi Reservoir

any irrigation development from that

About 80,000
authorized, but

of

Water Prospects
In
water

addition

rights that

to

federal
be

could

Oil Shale

for

sources, there
purchased

97

are a number of

if the

owned

privately
is right. In fact,

price

various

rights have already been purchased and will provide the water for at
least the initial oil shale production as now planned. Private rights with

historic dates

than 1930

earlier

virtually insulated
However, there is

are

the interstate compacts.

mands under

any de

against
a

factor

limiting

existing rights. For instance, the purchase of an


existing irrigation decree for 20 cubic feet of water per second of time
may translate into only half that amount or less when converted to an

in the

purchase and use of

In the necessary
change in use, our

diversion
priators,

or

though

even

that in

means

most cases

Only

law

state water

be

must

greater

provides

that

point of

other

appro-

from injury. This simply


change of a previously decreed

and

depletion than

through actual court

in

change

protected

the purchase

in any

right cannot result

right.

junior,

for

court proceedings

oil shale use.

the original

existed under

proceedings

can

this

be de

matter

termined.

While I have listed two


shale

to

industry,

some extent

is to initiate

In

ripen

of

third

an obvious

almost all of

the

filings for

original

Because

worthless.
could

by

Actually,

tributaries.
panies.

there is

courses of action

their junior status,

however. There is

no

way

This

made

by

were made

These

many

cases

are

shale

industry

various com

these

claims as

years ago and

the

exception

anything
industry.

in providing an adequate water supply for a


in that area. While there will be considerable

do

not see

this

its

and

that these claims could provide

we

oil

third course

sembling an adequate supply for a mature oil shale


To summarize the Grand Valley water supply situation,
great problem

the

pursued

the Colorado River

we regard most of

right.

water

usable

on

filings have been

few cases, these filings

into

has been

course which

rights

for

secure water

various oil companies.

water

numerous

to

re

we see no
mature

expense

oil

in

expense as

placing any
serious limitation upon oil shale production.
However, the White River
Basin poses an entirely different problem, which I shall briefly discuss.
The Piceance Basin of the White River produces an almost insig
connection with such a

supply,

nificant amount of water.

resources

in the

basin,

we

While there

do

not

are some significant ground water

believe that these

resources will

be

of

any long-range benefit to the industry. The ground water contained in the
deeper formations is of such poor quality as to present a serious disposal
problem.

to

us a

If

a major

foregone

industry

conclusion

be imported into the

is to

that

develop

in the Piceance

Basin,

it

seems

significant amounts of surface water must

area.

The White River in Colorado

produces

about

610,000

acre-feet of

98

Quarterly

Of that amount,

water annually.

On

consumed.

be

would

than

more

to

entitled

through

problem
system

of

in

prior

quantity

the river

leave

which

River

rado

possibility has been

in the

use

in

other

of

for

Subsequently,
ized

as the

Yellow Jacket

project

the Yellow Jacket Water

sponsoring

thorny

the Colorado

River

originally conceived as being


the White River Basin. However,

shale

of

the

of the
of

delayed pending

basin. When it
White River

high-grade

vised

to

the

was

to

deposits,

potential

feasibility

in the White River Basin.

District

Conservancy

was organ

agency for that project. The project


primarily for the irrigation of lands in
in

even

it

1956,

industrial

completion

contain

was

of

for

the

feasibility

the

perceived

clearly

the

the overwhelming

Yellow Jacket

demands

report was completed

of municipal and

has

and

develop

report was

better understanding of the energy resources


finally determined that the Piceance Basin

appeared

oil shale

reflect

feasibility

The

resources.

energy

This

industry.

authorized a

that the White River Basin possessed a great potential

therefore

use

and contractual

was

ment of

for

the White

a number of years

pending development of the oil


In 1956 Colorado requested and the Congress

study

the

to other parts of the Colo

now committed

consideration

under

the potential

Ute Indian

northern

situation on

awaited resolution

of

government

uncommitted water

that the

not mean

that it

contends

federal

the

within

also remains

parts

if any,

being

be transferred to the White River Basin.

can

system

industry

Utah

of

flows. There

little,

from the White River. This does


Depletions

for

is

acre-feet

that the White River

a major oil shale

of water

appropriations

River is hopeless.

50,000

seem

The State

Mines

of

the White River and the

which

Colorado,

than

would

the case.

not

a portion of

claims an unspecified
reservation

is

little less

for

adequate

such

alone, it

arithmetic

basin. However,
is

Colorado School

of the

of

in 1972

water

the

preponderance

project report was re

oil

shale

and provides

The

industry.

for the

furnishing

to the extent of about 71,000 acre-feet

This supply could be revised upward, if required.


The immediate problem with the Yellow Jacket project is

annually.

water supply.

I strongly

authorize construction of
of

the

other six

position

the project,

we

solution

we attempted

we would

do

committed.

recognize

We

face

These

states.

water supplies available

River have already been

exist.

that if

Colorado River Basin

that the

position, but

suspect

that a serious

to this dilemma is possible,

but it

to get Congress to

states would

in

water

of

the united opposition

to Colorado
are not

one

take the

from the Colorado

agreement with this

supply

will not

problem

be

does

easy.

I previously mentioned that there is at least 800,000 acre-feet of water


in the Colorado River system which is not now being used, and to which
Colorado is clearly

entitled

by

any interpretation

of

the compacts.

All

of

Water Prospects
this

water

Actually,

times this

several

for

retrieved

conditional

many

degree

ed

for federal

awarded

to municipalities.
the exercise

in

to these

450,000

depletion to

this

The total

projects.

estimated at

the validity

the

of

It

to

does have
decrees award

the state

those conditional

of

to

individuals,

Colorado

are seven

have

which

not yet

government and the other states of


conditional water

depletion for

annual

acre-feet.

However,

western

Both the federal

recognize

or no control over the

In this latter category, there

reclamation projects.

constructed.

basin

the

committed and cannot

little

have been

which

condi

industry.

shale

authorized reclamation projects

been

irrevocably

decrees

of control over

decrees.

is included in existing

state government exercises

private companies and


some

is

water

the oil

99

various users under conditional

volume of water

this

of

by

use

The Colorado

to

awarded

decrees. Much

tional

be

has been

Oil Shale

for

would

be

these

to

possible

before

the White River Basin

decrees

seven projects

is

reallocate some of

of

all

awarded

the

projects

are

constructed.

Such

require a revision

of priorities

decision

would require

Colorado

and of

that this decision


the state

am afraid

the

to

to

by

to

serve

the

board,

this

some resolution of

this

White River Basin there

still

aquifer

and

pumping

industry.

would

intensifying

saline

employment

However, I
reached

surface water competition.

in

have heard

we

resources of the

industry,

the final

the

staff of

the

native saline ground

will

siderable problem

be

into

of major

state water

value of ground water

summarize

water

to the

to the development

of a

levels, thereby
for irriga

waters

may

that are

aquifers

that the ground

importance in

less

much

oil shale

industry.

water

supply

full-fledged

prob

ground water

board is

the White River situation,

waters

disposal

wildlife and

of some predictions

White River Basin

ground

Prolonged

by

develop

life. Any valley

These

lower

used

full

under

short

very

aquifer pressure changes and migrate

fresh. While

To

hoped

long

be

to

time goes on, creating

as

In addition,

to

However,

would reduce aquifer pressures and

and stock water.

about

case.

have

be quickly drawn down.

tion

the

may be the

have

that are currently

ing

a reallocation

are sufficient ground water supplies

reducing spring flows


spond

by

I terminated my

problem will

water supplies would

become increasingly

lems

until

served

industry. I had

oil shale

and

water

the ground

alluvial
will

the

be delayed

could

the interests of the people of

be best

would

would

Essentially, it

government.

state

whether or not

sustain a prototype oil shale

ment

the

best. It

the

future.

near

In

that

as

a painful process at

the United States

of some water supplies

with

be

reallocation would

re

now

water

sustain

optimistic

poses a con

oil shale

industry.

Quarterly

100
The

is

problem

be

Earlier

during

these remarks,

lem,

have

a major

in part,

States

and

Water

California,
is

having

impact

the Republic
near

Treaty

upon

also contend

said

in the

supplies

adequate water

the

further

that

dissolved

of

this

oil shale

long-standing

supply

the international

will

solids

states of

that the

the

increasing

industry. The salinity

dispute between

pursuant

lower basin,
of

salinity

those

an adverse economic effect upon

not

is in order,

statement

boundary

the

contamination of

Mexico concerning the quality

of

1944. The

of

elaboration on

grows out of a

livered to Mexico
can

industrial

materialize, an

percolation

Some

permissible practice.
will

depend entirely

will

solution

municipal and

needs

Mines

of

made available.

Colorado River from the


it

for

needs

White River Basin. If these


can and will

The

not without solution.

the demonstrated

upon

Colorado School

of the

areas

be

since

prob

United

the

de

of waters

to the Mexi

and

particularly

the Colorado River


that

use the waters.

At this time, the Environmental Protection Agency proposes to set salinity


standards on the lower river as they existed as of April 1972. This level is
about

865

There is
standards

dissolved

total

parts per million of

solids.

considerable

about the establishment of

the

we

on

river.

controversy
In Colorado,
taken

standards unless measures are

at

cannot

federal

to the

agree

expense

salinity

proposed

to abate

some of

existing salinity. Otherwise, all further water development and use in


Colorado would come to a halt since it is not possible to use water without

the

dissolved

the introduction of

States Congress legislation that


salinity

control projects on

the appropriation

salinity

may

8275,000,000 to

about

further

contamination of the

construction of various

This legislation
construct

feasibility

of

to

as

carried on without

Most certainly,

various

minimized

specified

salinity
investigations for

mamtaining the
as of April 1972,

ultimate cost of

by

about the

Colorado River through the

develop

adding

to the many companies contemplating

oil shale.

However, it

large-scale

significant contamination

operations

will

still remains

to be

processing can be
to the Colorado River.

oil shale

be carefully

monitored

by

state

and

determine the salinity impact on the river. We are


the results of field experiments already being carried on

agencies

encouraged

new

whether or not

all

authorizes

industry.

this information is

demonstrated

by

The

the

Colorado River, at the level which existed


exceed a billion dollars.
This then is the concern

the mining and processing of

federal

also authorizes

control measures.

ment of the oil shale

None

would authorize

pending in the United

of the

well

possible

salinity

now

the Colorado River.

The legislation

control works.
additional

of

There is

solids.

to

companies,
through

and

further

we

believe that the salinity

research

and experiments.

problem can

However,

at

be
this

Water Prospects
time we are not certain, and only time

will conclude

by stating that

acre-feet of water can


shale

industry.

perhaps

as

be

If the

much

as

we

for

will reveal

have

made available

arises, this

need

400,000

Oil Shale

acre-feet.

no

the true answer.

doubt

annually to
amount

101

that at

support a mature oil

could

However,

least 250,000

be increased

there

will

be

to

cor

responding loss in agricultural production, since most of the available


water supplies in Colorado today are devoted to agriculture. I am not
by

any

means

supply for
will

be

implying

that it

an extensive oil

required.

desirable, but

To many

to others

be easy to furnish an adequate water


shale industry.
Some painful readjustments
will

of our

citizens, these adjustments may

such readjustments

may

seem

necessary.

not

be

AIR POLLUTION ASPECTS OF PROPOSED OIL SHALE

DEVELOPMENT IN NORTHWESTERN COLORADO

Lane W. Kirkpatrick

INTRODUCTION
It's

distinct honor

to

be here representing the Colorado Department

Health to relay my concerns regarding


shale development in this state.

air pollution as a result of oil

of

My biggest
substantial push

concern

by

the

oil

regarding

federal

shale

development has been the

government and

big industry

to

this

get

built up to substantial size. But


state and local interests have, in my opinion, been somewhat passive in
acting upon both the positive and negative aspects of its impact upon the

industry

new

state.

It's gratifying to

havior

by having

governor and
of

Mines

of

Paraphrasing

seeing

seminar

change

here today,

general

in this

make

passive

be

seeing the interest of the


assembly in establishing the School
and

by looking

in

advance

is its outstanding environment.


the Colorado Land Use Commissionwe must

destroy, by

Colorado

attractions

main

the concern of

to

state's

developments.

Colorado's

careful not

reputation

for

our

overdeveloping

in

such an attractive place

velopment poses a serious

tarnished

and

as a major environmental research center

One

that

this

start

the Colorado

at such proposed

be

in Colorado

started

threat to

clean

air,

a still

state, the very

which

shiny but

mountain

beauty,

to

qualities

live. Energy de

somewhat

slightly

and a comfortable

climate.

In

regard

emissions

from

to

air

pollution, I

oil shale

mated effects of oil shale

will cover

processes,

the

carcinogens

development

following
in

oil

items:

shale,

and

expected

the esti

upon ambient air quality.

OIL SHALE PROCESS EMISSIONS

My

staff

is reviewing

an

"authority

to

application

from

Technical Secretary, Colorado Air Pollution Control Commission, and Acting Director,
Air Pollution Control Division, Colorado Department of Health, Denver, Colo.

103

104

Quarterly

Colony

Colorado School

of the

Development Operation.

proposed good

My

feels

staff

technology for controlling

the

Mines

that this

emissions.

for

ment plan contains emission estimates

of

This

development has

Colony develop

oil shale process.

A flow chart, generally depicting the TOSCO-type oil shale process,


appears in figure 1. The plant is designed to process 66,000 tons per day
At 25

of oil shale.

40,000 barrels

plant would produce about

furnaces.

plan contains six retort

fugitive dust
mining

Dust

from

be partially

can

day. The

of oil per

the

at

from

bins. Controls

on

processed, this

of shale

beginning

mine

of

controlled

proposed

the process,
and other

vents, roads,

wetting down and


Fugitive dust emis

by

palliatives and other preventive measures.

sions are also expected


surge

Starting

are expected

emissions

operations.

using dust

ton

gallons of oil produced per

fine crushers, conveyors,


surge bins will probably be

the primary and

the crushers and

and

dry

is, baghouse installations. Emissions from the conveyor


collectors,
transporting material from the primary crusher to open storage will likely
be controlled by using water sprayers; however, the material being con
that

from the fine

veyed

to

ventilated

point, the

wetting

baghouse for

emission

major

( ceramic

elutriator

and

ball

hourly

emissions

be

will

because

of

include the

sources

process.

bin

surge

control

reheat and

fractionation

plant, the total

to the

crusher

enclosed and

its fineness.

oil

From this

preheaters, the

shale

cleaning process )
For this 40,000 ton

from the

fully

and

the

spent shale

oil shale

processing

aforesaid sources are shown

in

1.

table

It is

our

preliminary

conclusion

that this particular operation is

de

quality control regulations of the Colorado Air Pollution


Control Commission except perhaps our odor control regulations of which

signed

the

to

meet air

ultimate

impact is

still under review.

CARCINOGENS
Mr. Todd Reynolds,

has

assisted

body

in preparing this

of scientific

laboratory

our air pollution

portion of

my

paper.

knowledge is inadequate to

genic aspects of oil shale process emissions.

ently

concerned

with

possible

unless

the

controlled.
air

assess

to

also

instructed

monitoring for these

if unhealthy levels

are

problems

approve an

polynuclear aromatic compounds are

I have

properly the

Nevertheless,

health-related

structed our enforcement section not

supervising chemist,
We think the available

to

detected. Besides

we are suffici

that I

"authority

have in

to

adequately identified

our enforcement staff

compounds and

carcino

to

and

require ambient

require revocation of a permit

process

hydrocarbon emissions,

Am Pollution

of

Proposed Oil Shale Development

105

bo

O
Qi
O

O
M

ft
bo

o
I

106

Quarterly

of the

o
o

CO

Colorado School

sd-

o
o

Mines

CO

ON

1
1
1

u">

l-l

tf

o
as

of

IT

CM

IT)

l-l

CO

CO

5.
v.

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v.

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o

o
o

CM

vO

l-l

l-l

1
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(Vi

CO

CO

C^j

CO

Q
25

o
o
o

o
o

o
o

CO

r^

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1
1

IT

o
o
m
SO

CO

o
U
c/d

o
CVJ

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o

CO

o
o
co

o
o

t-l

1
1

l-l

CM

i-H

l-l

rH

PQ

<

w
o

s
o

oH

to

<&

w
O O

o
IS

< ?s z

11

JE

rJ

I-H

(OSrJ
to p

wc5

M ^
O 05

o
H

to

ass

ss

<
to
ex

SP

w
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w
H

.-J

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t-l

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35

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l-J

w
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o
H

O 13
CO

Air Pollution

Proposed Oil Shale Development

of

107

we are also concerned about minute quantities of carcinogens which

be

transported

Since

operation,

information

decisions. We

and permit

we must

on which

rely

base

to

on other organi

our

final regulatory

especially interested in two papers being


Denver Research Institute personnel which could shed some

by

prepared

effect

may

particles of oil shale or spent shale.

we are not a research

for health

zations

light

by blowing

are

on oil shale carcinogens:

"Investigation
Shale

of

the Hydrocarbon

the Green River

of

C. H.Prien;

Structure

Formation,"

by

Kerogen from Oil

of

J. J. Schmidt-Collerus

and

and

"Polycondensed Aromatic Compounds

( PAC )

Shale Ash

Retorting of Oil Shale


Schmidt-Collerus, F. Bonomo,

the

of

and

PAHs

Green River

Formation,"

by J.

other critical questions

includewhat

(PAHs)

How

present?

humans

Carcinogens in the

Carbonaceous Spent Shale from


J.

C. H. Prien.

Some
carbons

of

and

or enter

hydro

polynuclear aromatic

identities

are the amounts and

the PAHs

will

into food

regarding

be transported into

the

of

contact

with

chains?

EFFECTS UPON AMBIENT AIR QUALITY


Besides the

processes and communities

quality
the

standards

is

state standards

micrograms

will

to meet existing state and

cubic

and

federal

ambient air

Rio Blanco

particulate matter and sulfur oxides are

I doubt the

meter, respectively.

Counties,
45

and

standards

15

will

amount of

have to

deny "authority

The ability to

to

meet ambient

its

difficult

ambient air
since

the

quality

unless
air standards

Also,

pollution predictive models.


sider

In Garfield

questionable.

for

of proposed oil shale

industrial activity and community growth now pro


for the Piceance Basin and adjacent areas. Our enforcement section

tolerate the
posed

per

carcinogens, the ability

question of

the

must

standards can

be

analyzed

the commission may

standards.

present standards are

The decision

choose

be

met.

using
to

air

recon

on standards will

be

designed to

mountains visible and the air somewhat clear.

keep the surrounding


key question is: Do the

citizens of that area and of the state want to sacrifice the present particu

late

matter

standards, hence

air

clarity, to

help

relieve a national

energy

problem?

Even if

ambient air

quality

almost everyone would agree that clear and clean air

the

national

forests,

development

areas.

in valley areas,
should remain in

standards were relaxed

wilderness and recreational areas which abut proposed

The

air pollution predictive model will

be the

main

Quarterly

108
tool

for

of the

Colorado School

that downwind

demonstrating

pollution

air

Mines

of

problems

will

not

occur.

What

drafted
indirect

sources

for

and scheduled
sources

and equipment.
such as office

be

be

should

hearing

modeled.

Indirect

buildings,

Commission regulations,

modeled?

in

Direct

sources

June,

require

sources

include

that

include industrial

motor vehicle

shopping centers,

both direct

now

and

processes

traffic generators,

highways, housing

subdivisions

and employment centers.

CONCLUSION
I trust that

complete environmental

plans made

that

ecosystems,

as well as

also

state

best

reflect

trust that these

toward making
public

interest.

the

location

scenic,

inventories

will

be

of significant natural

cultural and

critical environmental

historic

prepared and

amenities and

resources of

inputs will, in turn,

sound environmental and

land

use

this area.
guide

the

decisions in

the

THE PHYSICAL BACKGROUND

Frank G.

My

be divided into three topics:

remarks will

to the Persian

shale

documents in

Cooley

the White

Gulf;

an oil shale

River;

the relationship of oil

and a

discussion

of

key

the

library.

RELATIONSHIP OF OIL SHALE TO PERSIAN GULF

The

most

important fact

January 1, 1974,

about

the Piceance

Creek basin is that

34 gravity, sweet Saudi Arabian light


$11.65 per barrel. The post price on

the posted

price of

f.o.b. Ras Tanura, was


October 1, 1973, was $3.01. From 1960 to 1970, it was $1.80.
The cost of production of Persian Gulf crude ranges from
crude

per

oil,

barrel to 18^
The

per

on

around

5^

barrel.

new price creates a cash

inflow into Persian Gulf treasuries

run

ning to billions of dollars per month. Saudi Arabian production is ap


proaching 10 million barrels of oil per day. Its income from oil is over

$1.5 billion
The
year.

per month.

added cost

Other

The

of

India is

of

consequences

have

When the

and

Sri Lanka

associated

evil

the increase

and

India
sad

of

(Ceylon)

and

Africa

consequences

oil

seem closer

to

prices

are not

million per

upon

Indian

surprising to

and

us

be

with mass starvation.


reach

Egypt, the shock value increases. But


Greece, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina
and

here

$800

about

nations will suffer serious economic effects.

Bangladesh, Zaire
cause we

to the economy

the

consider
and

Philippines, Korea
the effects

Uruguay.

The

upon

effects

us.

The pricing structure for world crude, and particularly for oil from
the Persian Gulf, is now related to oil from shale in the Piceance Basin in
several ways.

limit for
countries.

the

This
price

One

of

be few factors setting an upward


for Persian Gulf crude or from crude from the OPEC
week

the

there appear to

factors is

the

Governors Oil Shale Advisory Committee


Meeker, Colo.

probable cost of crude oil

and

109

from

syn-

Chairman, Oil Shale Regional Planning,

Quarterly

110
thetic
oil

from

Another is the

shale.

States in pursuing its

briefly

wish

sound

to

consequences of

Secretary

the

of

for

the

future

the

about

growth of

economic

resolution of

"failure to do

have

we cannot

shale program without some

sources.

the

of

grasp

world

At the Washington
urged

coal and

the United

of

sincerity

factors because

these

energy crisis.
State Henry Kissinger

questions

prospects

the oil

of

from

oil

independence from foreign

of

program

Mines

of

particularly

vigor or apparent

mention some of

understanding

mental

Hemisphere

in the Western

sources

Colorado School

of the

all

Energy
the

tition, autarchy, rivalry

nations, and the

Conference in

basis

"funda
the

countries,

hopes for

global

February, Kissinger

of cooperation and

said,

world with a vicious circle of compe

depressions

and

crisis raises

developing

the

of

this problem on the

so would threaten

that the

says

such

as

led to

the collapse of

1930s."

world order

in the

Secretary

Schlessinger

to the possibility

In

is, for
a

oil

barrel,
(1)

bluntly

more

barrel to be

has to

make certain absurd assumptions:

one

has

assume

weapons

political

hundreds

that

to continue, that

from $8 to $12

priced at

one

to

and referred

in the Persian Gulf.

present world crude price structure

costing from 5< to 18 cj

and

(2)

the problem

of unilateral action

for the

order

stated

of millions of

going into the Persian Gulf

dollars in

aircraft

contribute

will

to

stability;

that in times

of

famine

crisis,

and

pestilence,

heads

cool

will

prevail;

(3)

that Europe

prosperity

will

North America

bravely

tonics,

predestined and

that it is
treasure

and

logical,

should

be

10

owned or

the

wealth

result of plate

tec

and

inevitable that the

controlled, practically

world's

all of

it,

on

The total

effects of

only too

the increase in

Expectations

grimly.

principality will be in control of the world's wealth in 5 or


naive and ignore both world history and what little we know

small

about the nature of man which

Applied to

oil

make some

your own set of

(1)

and

the

Gulf.

such assumptions are absurd.

years are

these,

enjoyed wealth and

foreordained;

the price of world crude are now perceived

that any

have

suffer the end of

reasonable

the shores of the Persian

All

which

stoically
their lot
it
is
prosperity because

and

(4)

and

Oil

we can make some

others, but

you will

find

same

thing.

hypotheses. If

the

you

don't like

Persian Gulf coming into

hypotheses:

shale

Gulf

shale,

is essentially the

is

crude.

now a subtle part of

The

sheiks will not

the pricing structure

in the

long

for Persian

run wish

further to

111

The Physical Background


stimulate

the development

long remain
then the

to

move

development
a stimulation

Another

from

world oil

best lead

from

moderate

embargo

Just

And

accelerated.

becomes

shale and coal

to others to

velopment of shale.

at

be

will

at

the

shale,

a program of

talisman

of

sources and

the pricing spiral.

further

not

the opposite.

least,

oil prices

coal or

foreign

of

stimulate

Another

to the internationalization of the

Persian Gulf and,

If

shale or coal.

cost of extraction of oil

shale will

of oil

from

determination to become independent

our

(2)

the

above

of oil

the de

oil embargo will

reserves

create some transfers of

in the

ownership

of several anticlines.

(3)

Internationalization
Gulf

crude prices

the extraction of

be dropped. If they should drop considerably,


oil from shale might become uneconomic and

might cease unless subsidized

(4)

The development
pace

only

as

of oil

long

from

for

purposes of national security.

shale will continue at an accelerated

18^ Persian Gulf

as

American independence in energy


an oil shale

crude commands a world

S7.

price of more than

(5)

demand that Persian

should mean a world

capability, but these

than the availability

requires the

less

needs are

of world crude at near

development

factor

a significant

historic

of

prices.

THE WHITE RIVER IN A THIMBLE

The White River is


west

a small river

into the Green River in

Utah,

in

northwest

which

Colorado

in turn is

which

tributary

flows

of

the

Colorado. The White River Basin in Colorado is nearly identical to Rio


Blanco County. The water in the river comes from the Flat Tops, the
White River

South Fork

Plateau,

and

in two

the North

The White River

branches,

Fork,

in

now carries

in beautiful

which
about

valleys, the

glacial

lies Trappers Lake.

500,000

acre-feet of water each

along the north edge of the Piceance Creek Basin. Piceance Creek
accounts for only 10,000 acre-feet a year, mostly in the winter. There are

year

more problems

than

water

in Piceance

Creek,

so we'll concentrate on

the

White River.

The White River flow


acre-feet per

year,

about

It is necessary to
per

in

day to acre-feet.

cubic

feet

of quantity.

per

at

the Utah line averages

525,000

second,

half

million

acre-feet annually.

measure water

Water isn't

above a

quantity

and

sold or measured

flow measurement,

to

equate

barrels

of oil

in barrels. It is

measured

in acre-feet,

a measure

or

112

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

50,000 barrel

(1)

If

(2)

every barrel of oil, then you need 7,000


The community of which you are a part

your

day

3 barrels

plant requires

day,

gallons per person per

Mines

of

of water

for

acre-feet per year.


requires more

than 300

third of an acre-foot

or about one

A community of 3,000 will require 1,000


Remember the formula: 50,000 barrels per

per person per year.

acre-feet per year.

day,
The

water

the Upper

Sixty

Basin,

direction
ties of

development,
It is,

generally

Frank Welder
conceded

amounts of

water

of

course, the

within

basin,

mation and nearer

the

has been

the

may

of

vindicated

course and

in their

Survey

estimates

formation itself.

depth

It

are now
of

large

appears

in the Piceance

distance from
lower in the for

the

and with

Piceance Creek

quanti

The Superior Oil Com

million acre-feet of water


with

tremendously

the

the vast

States Geological

more saline waters

mouth of

alter

recognition of

the Green River

least 25

with

streams shrink.

Ben Weichman

been

He

it to carry

runoff and store

the

creates

water, and in order to

of

supply

runoff.

in the field.

newcomer

and one which

Creek Basin, varying in salinity


the rim of the

to the

that spring

the United

to have

that there is at

probable

of

the rivers in

in the spring
in 120 days. This

river

symposium, there

oil shale

in the formation.

water

waters of all of

mountains

periods of the year when

of oil shale.

and

not apparent

capture some of

Since the last


significant water

the

down the

an adequate and assured

do this, he must
him through the

pany

water comes

the problems that is

develop

River, like

acre-feet per year.

down from the

comes

the

7,000

about

in the White

percent of

one of
must

three, is

times

being

Yellow Creek. The

and

speaking of is more than the total flow of the


of 50 years. Whether this water will be a benefit

amount of water we are

White River for

impediment to the large-scale development

or an
of

the

be

big

new

statement

to

a period

dustry. The

use of

and practical part of

back to the

go

50,000 barrels

figure

us, but

facing

properly recognized, the

logical

Let's

challenges

of oil per

rule

of

the

25

might

be

The
source.

of shale and
sustained
water

To

The

in

from the

in the

degree the
area

of

140,000

disposal,
the

saline and
water

northwest

for

acre-feet of water

a million

may be

water within

in the formation is

a significant

rivers

processed shale

one

water on site appears

barrel

per

acre-feet.

a significant portion of

waters are usable as process water and

crushing

7,000

of

day. Project this to


If

is

water equation.

thumb

million acre-feet.

shale

the environmental impact

formation

annual water requirements are

against

as

from

of oil

day

Apply
the

many

this

saline

in the mining

used

in

and

years of production

formation.
it is

not a

replenishing

re

in the formation is finite.

Colorado

and

the Bureau

of

113

The Physical Background


Reclamation
with

sources

continuing
of

variety

industry

projects on these rivers must provide an oil shale

high quality

of

reservoirs

pipelines,

tional

water

which

have been designed to

the

under

rights

other

and

for

provide water

for

as

well,

having

projects, mostly

adjudication

water

most significant water projects

There are,

water.

condi

Colorado,

of

system

industry. The

an oil shale

the Bureau of Recla

shale are under

mation.

The Juniper project,


quantities of water

dam

from

is approximately 800,000

large

Piceance Basin
and

the

lifts

basin. The
called

Yampa. The

the

nearly two

and reservoir was

would produce

Yampa

the

on

River,

original

amounts of power and

required are

less

on

be

reservoir

in

of water

a cost problem

the Colorado River

the

only

side of

the Lower Yampa project,

aspects of

should not

delivery

difficult. It is

than those

power generation

the Juniper project,

to be

the

design

present

Releases from the Juniper

acre-feet.

would not appear

The

the Juniper

of

capacity

million acre-feet.

large

develop

would

the
still

overlooked.

The West Divide project, on the Crystal River and in the area of
Divide Creek opposite the town of Silt, would provide more than 70,000
for

acre-feet of water

River. This

municipal

and

industrial

be

to many to

project appears

along the Colorado


appropriate to the de

uses

more

along the Colorado River valley than to those


the drainage of Piceance Creek and Yellow Creek.

velopment of shales
within

The Yellow Jacket

Creek

area of

the

cludes

water

water,

for

and the

the White River

uses

oil shale

development

and

the

on

upper reaches of

in the Milk

provide more

in the White River valley,

for

coal.

The

project

in

the North Fork of the White

approximately 40,000 acre-feet of


delivering water into the Piceance Creek

capacity

capability

and

It has been designed to

for industrial

active

an

on

of water

two reservoirs,

River, having

is

Yampa River.

than 50,000 acre-feet

including

project

shales

of

of

basin.
The Yellow Jacket project, like most reclamation projects proposed
today, has encountered objections from wildlife interests and environ
mental groups. For the past several years, the project has been involved
in

a complex

and adjustments

objections.

the

need

negotiate

process with much

planning
in

the project

With the

for its
and

to

developing

water

with

problems

in these

for

adjust

project and others seem

The

of

features in

symposia

by

of

being

to

move

given

to

variations

overcome or meet

these

the Yellow Jacket project,

industry,

environmental

destined to

water

order

necessity

an oil shale

the

study

and a sincere effort

impacts

and

to

concerns, this

forward.

development in Colorado have been dealt

persons

better

able and more capable

than I.

114

Quarterly

Particularly,

discussion

the

Speakers in

Colorado School

of the

Northcutt

by

have thoroughly

past years

that approximately three-fourths

ation

Colorado's

is

rivers

to a share

Basin for

which

total river

system.

Colorado

The Mexican

known to

the

a small share of

and

Treaty

the

in

flowing

water

in the

VA

of

anomalous situ
western

that Colorado is entitled only

and

water

obligation

most of you and

the

illuminating.

was

the

the

of

it

in the

water

annually is

acre-feet

million

complex questions

Colorado River

upper

the greater part

produces

Mines

in 1967

pointed out

of

to others,

obligated

Ely

of

have been dis

raises

cussed.

Under the Colorado River Compact

New

in

Mexico,

the flow of the

75

1922,

the

states of

Lees

river at

the Upper Division

Ferry

in Santa

which was signed

to

agreed not

to be depleted below an

for any period of 10 consecutive years.


annual discharge of the Colorado River

Fe,

cause

aggregate of

million acre-feet

The

average

for the 52-year


the 26-year

period

dry

cycle

from 1914 to 1965

was

from 1931 to 1956, the

to 11,183,000 acre-feet.

These

versions of as much as

the activities of man, is

average

The

million acre-feet.

14,874

Lees

discharge

virgin

Ferry
During

acre-feet.

flows reflecting

are residual

estimated at

12,426,000

at

flow,

was

down
di

upstream

by

unaffected

the 52

million acre-feet over

years.

Clearly,
satisfy the

there is

flow in the Colorado River to

not sufficient virgin

assumption

under

which

the Colorado River Compact

was

made.

In Santa Fe in
entered

51.75

was allocated

percent of

Arizona took its depletion

after

Applying

of

this arithmetic, and

50,000
what

losses in the river, Colorado's

atives

million acre-feet per annum.

nually

the

and

other

Upper Basin

states

into the Upper Colorado River Compact.

Colorado

1948, Colorado

out of

is

Under this compact,


the waters of the Upper Basin

acre-feet of water.

perhaps more

share of water

Nearly

third of

the Colorado River Basin and

Front Range. There is


many other users
Colorado water.

and

limited finite

are

harsh,

the

may be approximately
this water is taken an

used on

the east

side of

amount of water available

competing to

commit

evapor-

this

unused

for

the

shale

availability

of

Another problem, which has exacerbated the already complex ques


tions of supply, is the water quality problem, the requirements of control
of

salinity, both for

areas

in the Lower Basin

creases

Any

water

the

furnished to Mexico
states.

concentration of salts

increase in salinity

and

Each diversion

of

for the

high quality

only

compounds

water

in

the

Colorado.

existing

problems.

in the remaining waters

of waste water

use of populous

of

The Physical Background


the fact that these contaminates

It is impossible to

overlook

populous southern

California. California has

tion to

dry

end

lot to say in this

up in

area and

to say it.

some powerful voices

The

115

speaking to the

conclusions of anyone

in

subject of water

rela

be monotonously the same. If any speaker on this


gives conclusions different from other speakers, his

oil shale should

subject of water

be

comments should

Somehow,

suspect.

hope to

we

home

strike

with

the

same recommendations.

projects of

of water

the Bureau

in

Features

to

and

wide

provide

region and

for

tee a supply

the

spring

during

supply

Secondly,

to

there is

oil

by

need,

have

from

appropriate

in this decade for there to be

diversions supplying
it is

Thirdly,

now

Water Conservation

variety
time

Board,

the

those

projects

for

the

will guaran

shale.

means, to

assure cooperation

It

will

not

be

of pipelines and water

variety

and

particularly for the Colorado

its list

rearrange

jects. The priority list has been

months.

mining locations.

of

for Colorado,
to

dry
now

that

in the Piceance Creek Basin.

among the

stabilize

adverse effects upon wildlife

whatever

water

projects

water

press on with

for making

of water

of

to

runoff

be ameliorated, but it is time

should

nation

assured

requires storage of

of reclamation projects which

or the environment

understanding for the


and dependable supply

and

support

Reclamation. An

of

Colorado

western

flows

stream

for

there is a need

First,

to

subject

for

of priorities

water pro

various political and regional

The reordering of priorities to meet present realities is neces


This is particularly important because of the lead-time problem with

pressures.
sary.

reclamation projects.

tion may be

as great as

Finally,
to

be

celeration of

be

the

problem.

dation

of

transbasin

the

for

no

doubt

the Bureau of Reclama


as

by

by

as

years.
ceased

The

are national.

ac

diversions alone should


to prohibit the further degra

transmountain

congressional action

Colorado River

long

diversion in Colorado has

Its implications today

the salinity problem

sufficient reason

projects of

10 years, but it is

problem of

Colorado

The lead-time for

diversion.

transmountain

At the

least,

have federal legislation prohibiting any federal participation,


sanction, support, or financing of any diversion of waters from the Colo
rado River Basin. It is now clear that burdens imposed upon the remain
we

should

ing Colorado

waters of

the Upper Basin

require a state and national commitment


regulate

the

water.

Such

enough water available


must

stop

diluting

the

by

to

commitment

for the

oil

a national oil shale

build
will

structures
make

shale process.

scarce water resources

by

to

sure

At the

demand

capture and

that there is

same

transmountain

time, we
diversion.

116

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

Mines

of

KEY DOCUMENTS IN AN OIL SHALE LIBRARY


There
contained

the

dozens

are

in the draft

following

as

the

of oil shale
of

the

bibliographies. Some

environmental

current

top twenty

impact

which

lists

excellent

statement.

should

are

suggest

lead into

other

sources :

1. Grand Junction
Kirkham's

Sentinel.

coverage of oil shale

2. The March

finest

Daily

short

9, 1964,

discussion

3. The

ever

is the finest

issue

of

the Governor's Oil Shale

different

There

the State

Geologist, State of Colorado.

two

account

to

be had.

Gas Journal. This is the

on

Economics of Environmental Pro


Program by A Special Committee

Leasing
Advisory Committee, January 1971,

of print.

are

and

Gaylord

and

done.

tection for a Federal Oil Shale


of

day-by-day

The Oil

Report: Report

Tweedy

Helene Monberg's

printings and a

third

has been

now out
made

by

4. Final Environmental Statement for the Prototype Oil Shale Leas

6 volumes, U.S. Department

ing Program,

of

the

Interior, Washington,

D.C. $28.75.
Review of the Prototype Oil Shale Leasing
Program Final Environmental Impact Statement by the Environmental

5. A Scientific

and

Policy

Impact Assessment Project

of

the Institute of Ecology.

October 1973.

Washington, $2.00.
6. U.S.G.S. Bulletin 1082-L:

Tertiary Geology

and

of the Piceance Basin Between the Colorado


Northwestern Colorado. John R. Donnell.

sources

7. Green River Formation


the Piceance Creek

Department

of

the

Lithology

and

and

Oil Shale Re
White Rivers

Oil Shale Correlations in

Basin, Colorado. Report of Investigations 7357, U.S.


Interior, Bureau of Mines, by Trudell, Beard, and

Smith. 1970.
8. Profile of Development of an Oil Shale Industry in Colorado, Uni
versity of Denver Research Institute, Prien, Shanz & Doran, for the Oil
Shale Regional

Planning Commission, February


6-

9. Impact Analysis

1973.

Development Patterns Related to

an

Oil Shale

Industry, THK Associates, Inc., Bickert, Browne, Coddington and Associ


ates, Inc., and the University of Denver Research Institute for the Colo
rado West Area Council of Governments, February 1974.
of the Parachute Creek Valley: An Eco
Thorne Ecological Institute, March 1973, Published

10. Environmental

logical Inventory

by Colony

by

Operation, Denver, $7.50.


Related Land Resources, White River Basin in Colo

Development

11. Water
rado,

by

Setting

and

Colorado Water Conservation Board

and

U.S. Department

of

117

The Physical Background

Agriculture, November, and Water and Related Land Resources, Colorado


River Basin in Colorado, Denver, Colorado, May 1965.
12. Quarterly of the Colorado School of Mines, Symposia on Oil
Shale: July, 1964, July, 1965, July, 1966, July, 1967, October, 1968, Octo
ber, 1970, 4.00 each, $6.00 for the 1970 volume.
13. Rock that Burns, Harry K. Savage, Pruett Press, Boulder, Colo
rado,

$6.50.

Book, Dr. Norman Wengert, Colony De


velopment Operation, Denver, Colorado, $10.00.
15. Project Rio Blanco, Environmental Impact Evaluation, October
12, 1971, CER Geonuclear, Las Vegas, Nevada. Contains climatological
14. Oil Shale

data

and

Country

information

Fact

not otherwise obtainable.

Applications, Colorado Water Division No. 5, by


Cameron Engineers, Inc., October 1973 (map with 4 overlays), $75.00.
17. Hydrologic Data from the Piceance Basin, Colorado, Colorado
Water Resources Basic-Data Release No. 31, by U. S. Geological Survey,
Ficke, Weeks, and Welder for the Colorado Department of Natural Re
16. Water Right

sources, 1974.

18. Attitudes

Opinions Related to the Development of an Oil


1973, Bickert, Browne and Coddington & Associates,

and

Shale Industry, July


Inc., The Oil Shale Regional

Planning Commission, Rifle, Colorado.


19. Surface Rehabilitation of Land Disturbances Resulting from Oil
Shale Development. March 1, 1974. Environmental Resources Center,
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
20. Housing Report. January 1974. James M. Bowers and Associates,
Denver, Colorado.
I
to

am not

fully

satisfied with

Denyi, Weichman,

discussions
twenty.

the

and several

are not adequate.

foregoing

others,

list. It does

including

But this is my best

the

not

do justice

AEC. The

quick shot at

water

the

top

IMPACTS OF OIL SHALE:


Gilmore1

John S.

This

facing

paper

much of

and opportunities

In

Oil

Duff2

It is

facing

specifically addressed to some of the threats


in Colorado if oil shale and coal are intensively

more
us

Colorado.*

assumptions:

shale

development,

Colorado,

is

the-art

mining

of

expected

be widely

Assuming
that the

both

to

use

now

be imminent in

thought to

technology found

within

the present

processing for several years to come. The following


impacts would vary a great deal if in-situ processing

undertaken

in the

near

future.

technology, it may be

present state-of-the-art

construction and operation of eight oil shale plants


public and private

land

announcement of construction

the 1973

announcement

plant

holds up,

with

a combined

by

1987

will occur

by

intentions. This

by Colony

in Colorado

first

that if

statement suggests

Development Operation to build

eight plants might

be in

operation

in Colorado

capacity of 850,000 barrels a day. Additional plans


be in operation in Utah just across the Colorado line from Rangely,

processing

years,

postulated

the 14th year after the

generating further impacts on northwest Colorado.


We have estimated that each 50,000 to 60,000 barrels
and

western
state-of-

and

circumstances and

might

K.

commonly used scenario for oil shale development that we


for the Oil Shale Regional Planning Commission, we used the

following

on

Mary

one

prepared

should

and

is generally addressed to the threats and opportunities


the Rocky Mountain area if and as our mineral fuels are

hastily developed.
developed in

BOOM OR BOON

unit would

involve

with a peak construction

per

day

mining
2 to 3

a major construction effort over

force

of

1,300 to 1,600. Each

such plant

^Senior Research Economist, University of Denver Research Institute, Denver, Colo.

2Research Associate, University of Denver Research Institute, Denver, Colo.


*This paper draws on data from Working Paper #3, Impacts of Intensive Oil Shale
Development: Concepts and Remedies, Denver: Denver Research Institute, 1973,
and yet unpublished re
prepared for the Oil Shale Regional Planning Commission;
search on the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, sponsored by Burlington Northern,
Inc., and on the Rock Springs-Green River area, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Energy
Company.

119

120

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

of

Mines

900 mining and operating personnel.


in the
Bob Giltner's paper, "Western Colorado: Choices for
session, will detail the variety of public sector problems (and their
then employ

would

an estimated

Growth,"

next
costs

that may

be

anticipated.

Suffice to say here, there also are many policy and operating decisions
that must be made by local government from 2 to 5 years ahead of the
time

when

present

in

the

in the three-county

matters of water

tion

and education

trol; hospitals,
both

These

supply; planning

facilities;

public

which

are

and

for

services

will

zoning;

health

actually be

decision-making

services cover

new communities

and mental

safety,

transportation;

policy;

recrea

air pollution con

facilities;

and

determining

diversified community
maintaining
the residents of this region now live.
a

More specifically, three

lems

requirement

region.0

ends and means of

in

that

the

or

people

similar

to

major categories of growth management prob

readily identifiable

with an oil shale

(or

other construction and

mining) boom:

(1)
(2)
(3)

the quality

of

life

of present residents

industrial productivity

local

government's

is

degraded;

and

profitability suffer;
fiscal viability is impaired.

Since many of these problems are best described qualitatively, it is


difficult to quantize or allocate their costs. Difficult or not, it is bad eco
nomics

to ignore the

ernment neither

to

for them.

pensate

costs.

It is

ameliorate

Some

poor management and unresponsive gov

the problems and their costs nor to

com

follow.

examples

The quality of life is degraded. The cost of living goes up, particu
larly the cost of rental housing. The supply of available housing quickly
dwindles. The availability and quality of services suffer; recreation facili
ties

are

crowded, telephone

1987, we forecast a
Garfield, Mesa, and Rio Blanco

Looking

of

degenerates.

service

oil shale

to

development. This is

well-diversified at

this

there is

years unless

development

we

to

be

generally

about

the

three-county

147,000

described,

people

prosperous regional

with comfortable growth over

a collapse of

have

^Working Paper #3,

time,

population of

the

tourism and recreation.

if it takes place,

region

without

economy,

next several

The

oil shale

would add an additional

cit., offers an example of a decision-making agenda and


planning and decision-making groups prepare and continually
revise a 10- or 15-year problem identification and decision-making agenda, specifying
assumptions as to what will be going on over each of the next 10 to 15 years and
identifying the leading year in which decisions must be made to cope with a given
later year's housing, schoolroom, public and private service, and decision-making
suggests

that

requirements.

regional

op.

Impacts
160,000

lation

to this

people

160,000

people

people.

This

is

create

would

the

of

oil

This development
and

covers popu

operation, basic

The

service employment.

additional

total 1987 population of about 310,000

to 12 percent,

forecasted

121

construction

shale

( 10

Oil Shale

region.

local

related

growth rate

doubling

the

plus

employment,

three-county

directly by

supported

of

(5 percent)

rate

may be

which

conservative

without oil

shale,

and a

tripling of the present rate (3 percent); the growth rate in western Gar
field County, or in Rio Blanco County, might go to 25 or 30 percent.
We

20,000

about

require

would

that just this

estimate

another

10,000 to 11,000

housing

were available at

If the

housing

additional

units

of

the time it

shale

during

related

housing

permanent

homes

mobile

oil

and

this period,

( one

was needed

population

if

type

probably

permanent

of

lead-time

incoming workers and


their families were first making their decisions on where to live, the pro
portion of mobile homes would be far higher. Servicing the housing needs

problem).

would

involve the

up to 5,000 homes

construction of

during

per year

some

the 14-year period.

years of

This

new population

resulting from

$800 million, creating

over

of

were not available when

oil shale would

demand for

massive

have total income


goods

retail

and

services.

The demand for


rapidly

with

tion would

quiring

include

again

furnishing

200

new

an

there

the

rooms

staffing these

influx

sudden

an additional

Here

be

this

1,500

in

additional

(and

be lead-time

facilities

at

school

related school

problems.

One

would grow
new popula

children,

re

facilities).

problem would

the time the children arrived (over

Another involves

some years).

facilities to

too

For example, this

44,000

schoolrooms

would

a year

and public services

of people.

estimated

school

school

facilities

public

building

and

emplo

accommodate

construction

before there is any substantial increase in property tax base re


sulting from oil shale mining. There are substantial lead-time problems
also in adjusting boundaries of school districts and other jurisdictions.
children

Crowding
are

and

increased traffic

relative

frustrating.
Health services, particularly,

build

new

facilities;

in

a rural

physicians and staff even


water

1;

to available streets and parking

in

suffer

in

boom;

it is difficult to rapidly

area, it is particularly

if the facilities

were

in

difficult to

place on

County, Wyoming, the ratio of population to


the state of Colorado, the ratio is 660 to 1.

time. In Sweet

physicians

The

attract

is 3,300 to

caseload

in the

county mental health clinic increased tenfold while the population went
from 18,000 to 30,000 in 3 years. This increase generated a different type

122
of

Quarterly

i.e.,

caseload,

holism,

and

In

of the

higher incidence

much

of

Mines

of

broken home problems,

alco

down-and-outs.

Gillette, Wyoming,

dropout rates,
mobile home

lacking

Colorado School

as

jobs

parks

boom steeply

an earlier

increased

and wages

sprung up;

Massive,

steeply.

colonies

sometimes

normal water and sanitation

high

escalated

facilities

school

unplanned

trailers

of

proliferated.

Fringe settlements, outside established towns, proliferate because of


inadequate facilities in the town. These settlements offer little oppor
to

to

tunity

and no encouragement

Social

cohesion suffers as alienation and emotional

Crime

other.

of

typical

lacking

small rural

and

towns in Colorado

mental

stress

health

level for

a community.

distress feed
and

Rock Springs
recrea

insufficient;
increased, lead

are

is

newcomers

on each

country

oil shale

opportunities

educational/cultural

these resources, the

to increased

ing
of

the

in

participate

In Gillette

increase.

rates and alcoholism

facilities

tional

newcomers

caseloads.

Industrial productivity and profitability suffer. The prime example


poor profitability is the Jim Bridger power plant project near Rock

Springs. It has $100


labor

personnel

and

high

has led to high

cost

in cost,

million escalation

inevitable in

market problems
employee

it resulting from
boom town. This

much of

turnover and

lowered productivity

in existing employment; a chain reaction of business and industrial


lems appears almost inevitable in a construction-and-mining boom.

The boom-inflated

Municipal viability is threatened.


particularly hit county
tenance personnel,

by

at

$1,000 to $1,200

and municipal employment.

$500 to $700

a month construction

Tax base for property taxation


slow

to

increase,

month, may

while

( and

Police

prob

wage

rates

and road main

be particularly tempted

jobs.

for

demands for facilities

in

bonding )

municipalities

and services mushroom.

is

( See

following table. )
Population Versus Assessed Valuation

Green River

1970

Rock Springs

tainty

Population

Valuation

Per Capita

4,196

$ 5.1 million

$1,215

7,000

5.6

1970

11,657

$15.7

18,000

16.8

"

million

800

$1,347

"

933

local government, however, may be the uncer


single-industry boom. An oil shale boom, particularly if

greatest

tied to

Valuation

1973
1973

The

Assessed

threat to

Impacts
it damaged

preempting resources) the diversified economy of north


could turn a relatively stable long-term growth trend into

(by

Colorado,

west

boom

123

Oil Shale

of

bust tied

with a

The bust is

the end.

on at

not

inevitable, but

it

certainly is a possibility, born of resource depletion, technological change,


change in fuel markets, or changes in social structure and values.

Boom

The

to

challenges

An
two

boon? So

or

the threats implicit in

dilemmas

strategic

(1)

Should the

(2)

risk of

Should

a substantial part of

ties

These

maintain

Or

with expected

economy be

deliberately

the

a specialized oil

maintained as a

di

even more growth

programming

the

in throwaway boom

homes?

mobile

comes out of

diversity?

area

modated

local

it be

into the

to

policy-making

regional

should

economy, at the

versified

are considerable.

attempts at growth management:

boom

oil shale

Or

growth

by

posed

shale economy?

to

boom

tremendous.

growth management are

even greater challenge

boarding houses and


free-standing communi

century be developed?
be considered in light of national and

lives into the

strategic questions must

accom

settlements

permanent

should

be

growth

population

next

concerns.

Nationally,
United States
contained

another

energy

Locally,

the

ards should

be

30

or

should

quality

welfare

the region should

million people must

next

sources

environmental

unique

shared

the

over

50

40

accommodated

in the

Nationally, continentally
be developed. Nationally, areas of

should

(including

years.

be

the

Locally,

preserved.

desired way

be defended. Locally,

maintained.

be

of

life)

of people

in

environmental and social stand

the

fruits

of

the

booms

should

be

equitably.

Oil

shale

will require

fuels development in general)


The planning should include land-use

development (and

intensive

mineral

planning.

and growth management with careful selection of growth strategies.

Oil

shale

will generate

development (and
immense

The implementation

cash

ing

so

that the

fuels development in general)

flows in both the

of effective growth

selected growth strategies should

beneficiala

mineral

affected regions

public and private sectors.

management,

be economically
and

20th century boon to

and

their citizens

all of us.

based

socially

on

carefully

self-sustain

find the development

WESTERN COLORADO:

CHOICES FOR GROWTH

Robert E. Giltner
It

be

should

apparent at this

development

the

oil shale

boom

there are those who are afraid that it

To
that

put

The

area most affected

however Moffat
are about

9,500

be 82,000

persons

consider

in

is growing

on

County

other end of

fueled

by

normal

estimated

growth of

of

the

growth

The

other

will

continue.

healthy,

new oil shale

success,

60,000 to 160,000

the

shale

three-county
City

an oil

persons

workers

a part of

Director of

up

the

mag

Garfield,

Planning

region,

and

The three

Man

counties

to

a population estimated

most populous and con

and

Valley, have felt

County

is the least

County

in 1972.
as a regional

Carbondale,

the impact

of

adjacent to our region

towns along the

is

Colorado River have

and

growing
area

Regional

development there

area

by 1988,

same period.

to

live,

will

roughly 14

be

another

years.

These figures include

not

also all of the service and support personnel

communities.

now

as a place

industry will add to this growth. Depending


shale industry could account for an additional

in this

but

Colorado

The Denver Research Institute has

even without oil shale

in the three-county

that are

and

numbers

oil shale

Grand Junction

attractiveness of western

persons

of

make

is the

now.

Pitkin

70,000

oil

are

extents.

that

level

consists of

impetus. Glen wood Springs

own

shale oil.

lesser

to

Because

only

few

describe

this to be the

estimated

the Colorado River

not

the

cite a

will

Rio Blanco

Grand Junction.

its

Aspen boom. The

on

figures

have

area and

Mesa

in 1974.

city

the

this

like to

development

oil shale

county with 4,888 residents


Growth is occuring in the region

grown

fade away like the rest,

would

these

populated

the

Colorado. There

state administrative purposes.

square miles

largest

tains the

at

about

won't.

joins these three to

County

Region 11 for

agement

by

Rio Blanco Counties. I

and

center

feelings

the problem.

nitude of

Mesa

Hopefully,

are mixed

western

will

the issue into perspective, I

may have heard.

you

in

industry

of an oil shale

fear that this

those who

time that there

at

82,000

Translated into total population,

persons

could

be 150,000

Planning, THK Associates, Inc., Denver, Colo.


125

persons

126

Quarterly
15

after

of the

Colorado School
300,000

years of normal growth or over

industrial

successful

The

recent

Colorado

and

kind

this

Arab

oil embargo and

figures

is both exciting

of growth

Wyoming lease

that these growth

15

persons after

years of

operation.

prospect of

With the

Mines

of

the

sites, it is

be

might

leasing

successful

becoming
The

reached.

frightening.

and

both the

of

and more

more

the

of

citizens

likely
region

only now becoming aware of what might occur under these conditions.
A year ago, an extensive attitudinal survey was undertaken in the

are

region

they

determine how

to

might react

their present

residents viewed

The

to growth.

results

lifestyle

how

and, in part,

interesting,

were

and

predictable.

The majority

of

casual atmosphere and

to

ways

complaints about

overall, there

The

lack

of

shopping facilities

rapid growth.

fears

Some

voiced

the

substantially

magnitude

Some growth, it
if it

was

tive impact
water,

deemed

alter

of

maintained,

existing

housing,

were mild

However,

congestion, the climate,

potential

negative

percent.

highly

successful

of

"desir

of growth

were not aware

oil

shale

industry.

improve the economy of the region


if it could be adequately controlled.

might

rapid and substantial growth would

services.

Of

utmost

It became

and schools.

effects

this

This type

existing lifestyles. Residents

growth

feared that
on

of

desirable; however,

from 35 to 90

the right type of growth and

were

It

of

was

involved the

growth was

growth was pegged at

of

satisfactory

and entertainment.

lack

the

the population,

the

There is

the people.

communities, there

smaller

for

of

life,

of

the region.

of

greatest

would not

the

some of

most of

tempo

present

friendliness

for

and

was an appreciation

beauty

the

and

In

it.

spend

the general

leisure time,

ample

currently

liked the

area residents

a nega

concern was

the impact on

from

interviews that

obvious

maximum potential oil shale growth would

have

be

the

viewed with alarm.

Colorado apparently does not lie


between growth and no growth, but rather between "normal
( if
we can use that term to define growth without oil shale development),

However,

the

choice

in

western

growth"

rapid

growth,

growth are

local

and

largely

explosive

beyond

growth.

the control of

The

circumstances

the people

of

causing

this

the area and their

units of governments.

Apart from the


some of

the

First,

concerns of

positive and negative aspects of

on the

area which will

that

let

review

us

what

to

be.

income to

the

growth are

likely

positive side:

New industrial activity


services.

the area residents,

be

will no

doubt

bring

additional

demand for goods and


potential for the
existing

translated into an increased

This demand

will enlarge

the market

Western Colorado: Choices


merchants and service

The

New

future

and

industry

different types

and

As the

populations.

127
to

should continue

doubt develop.

will no

addition of a new

economy.

Growth

firms. Astute local businesses

businesses

prosper and new

for

further

will

jobs

of

be

will

grows, the

region

diversify
available

the

regional

to the present

presence of an oil shale

growing work force may attract other activities to western


Colorado which have nothing to do with energy production. This further
diversification of the industrial base, brought about by the oil shale in

industry

and a

dustry but

entirely dependent

not

from dependence
Growth

upon a single

bring

will

this

some circles

to the

be

would

healthy

trend away

industry.

new people and new

be welcome,

might not

prefer some change

it,

upon

While in

area.

the citizens of the area

New

status quo.

ideas to the

people might

bring

to

seem

them

with

different ideas for solving local problems. There will undoubtedly be


larger market for cultural activities. A larger population may also mean
in the

stronger voice

have

could

Oil

legislature. The

state

beneficial impact

on

the

of

human

resources

region.

development has already

shale

broadening

focus

to

and will continue

state

Approaches to solving local


to be developed as a result of the impetus of

and national attention on the oil shale region.

likely

problems are more

As

growth.
veloped

to

be

example, Colorado

an

for the

use of western

if

addressed

remain

The

provide

them.

beyond
For the

the

These

with

will

now apparent

housing

facilities,

already tight

be in

is the demand for

This

as

they

provided

in

units

desirable

ions

or

great
a

with

timely

demand in any
mean

a new

philosophy

and the new.

of new people.

and

ex

government

by

to

growth, this

provide

necessary

could

manner,

play

upon

opinions

The

lifestyle that

It is

growth situation.
capable of

continued

depending

Present majority

the influx

to

attempt

housing industry

will

undesirable,

the judgment.

of

impacted

communities

costs

if

local

of

high

probably some housing inconvenience.


There will be social change in the area. These

ing

they

budgets.

that there is

needs.

capability

smaller

tremendous start-up

Housing

as

likely

the turn of events than if

most serious negative aspect of growth

facilities.

ed

by

are spotlighted

problems are more

negative side:

panded services

havoc

Colorado. Other

be further de

in the background.

On the

means

they

water resources might

the

meeting

housing

views of

the

project

values

changes can

be

consists of

the

be hard

best

and

viewed

person mak

may become minority

region will

not

put

parts

to

opin

evolve

of the old

128

Quarterly

Yet to be determined

not

what are some of

First, I

To
the

area

towns

following
For

the total

area of

the three

counties

levels

the expected

land

of growth

in the

moderate oil

of these

Even the largest

frightening

(70,000 persons)
shale development

Much

when

cultural

the

the

land

you

area

is

added

too

urbanized

consider

and

the

These are,

be

next

15 years,

of

the

be

urbanized:

region.

square miles

15

square miles

26

square miles

14

square miles.
miles

the

of

spaces

is

the region

for

not

three-

are

develop

for easy urbaniza


What is left is the level plains

terrain too

rugged

valleys and a

we

square

unavailable

course,

considerably.

Here

40

area

however. Within

excluded.

White River

land

of

present

wide-open

not available

should

to the

The

fact that this developable land


have

few

is further

problem

also

is

This

suitable mesas.

some of

a significant

the

compli

best

competing

agri

use

for

be

the

developable land.

Secondly,
cost of

munity there
them

after the

land

area requirements are

what will

met,

this growth?

We have

with

estimated
will

be

that

systems and sewer systems.

million.

an

expenditure

capital plant.

and police

biliy for providing all

for every 1,000

required

the necessary

ies, hospitals, fire

$1

be

region consists of

the available
the

to

figure for

forests.

areas

Colorado

by

cated

of

need

possible

national

narrows

relatively

development

oil shale

figures

county area.
All of that land

of the

to

area would need

(231,000 persons)

tion. These

and

growth"

For intensive

ment.

housing

Garfield, Mesa,

of

(131,000 persons)

several

for

occupy about 14 square miles of land area in a


of over 9,500 square miles.
This represents about

amount of additional

For "normal

too

described,

already

area requirements

cities and

will

amount.

accommodate

Any

they

now

of one percent of

insignificant

The

region

it?

accommodate

like to discuss the land

Rio Blanco Counties

tenth

order of magnitude

the requirements to

would

three-county

the

occurs on

and expanded population.

one

the

on the environment of

notably water. Whatever the impacts,


constitute improvements.

Assuming growth

total

impacts

are

Mines

of

resources

and natural

probably

Colorado School

of the

added

to

million

to

provide

persons
of

$3

com

This includes schools, parks, librar

protection,

governmental

If the community

streets, this figure

will

buildings,

also assumes total

be increased

by

water

reponsi-

an additional

Western Colorado: Choices


These figures
ities

built, they

are

for

salaries

the

the

for these

supplies

41

about
of

needs

$400,000 to $500,000

to

will amount

same

population

Once the facil

The

1,000 increment in

This money

annually.

new government employees

new

129

staffed and maintained.

the

service

Growth

capital expenditures.

be

to

will need

necessary to

costs

operating

only the

represent

for

plus

that it

will

annual

population

take to

service

for equipment, space,

costs

for

go

will

and

people.

To be sure, there will also be revenues from these new area residents.
Those who buy homes or businesses will contribute through ad valorem
taxes. There may be

This

nue.

additional

$430,000 in tax

taxes

sales

1,000

or other

persons

With

revenues.

taxes to

be

can

produce additional reve

to

assumed

produce

in the tax rate,

some manipulation

greater

than average increase in industrial or commercial tax

appears

that operating

This does

from

include

not

an oil shale

Some

dustry

bonuses

show a

very favorable balance.

It
capital

improvements that

Under

tion.

the next

15

at

the

national

county

in the

jurisdictions

it

will

have

royalties

in

these

tax revenues, and might therefore

be necessary to
growth, this
oil shale

and

area and

three-county
of

oil shale

levels

state

any degree

region.

terns that

land

after

uncertainties

growth with

will

base,

be in taking
this

support

take

will

$210

development,

this

the

care of

new popula
million over

figure

could

million.

And, thirdly,
The

tax revenues and

of

or a

taxes.

major problem will

With intensive

years.

of growth

lucky

normal

conditions of normal

increase to $690

terns

to their

then that the

appears

covered with

consideration

industry.

added

be

costs can

about

costs,

what will

be the

likely

area?

development

and

land-use legislation

it difficult to

make

project

population

accuracy for specific areas within the


it is possible to speculate on development

three-

of

However,

pat

pat

might occur under certain circumstances.

trends, i.e., no oil shale production, the


towns along the Colorado River Valley can be expected to bear the brunt
of the approximately 70,000-person increase in population projected for

Assuming

the

hub

next
of

wood

15

the region,

in

Grand Junction,

years.

Springs,

second

normal economic

the transportation and economic

as

will receive a major share of

and

Meeker,

rate of growth.

Grand Valley, Silt

and

all at

Rifle,

that growth.

the intersection of

major

routes,

Glen-

will

be

Rangely, Fruita, Palisade, Collbran, DeBeque

Newcastle

will

share

in the

growth

to a lesser

have

direct in

extent.

With

fluence

on

oil

shale

development,

community

growth.

plant

If there

location

are

will

moderately

successful oil shale

130

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

industries in Parachute Creek

and

focus

the

from

of growth will shift

County. Rifle

feel the

will

New population, seeking

lower Piceance
Grand Junction
impact

major

then the

lesser

extent.

to work,

close as possible

as

Garfield

area to eastern
a

major

from Grand Valley to Glenwood


oil shale growth will be in addition

look first to the existing


Springs. It should be noted that this

towns

will

to the

already described

normal growth

If intensive
and on

Under this

the impact

growth

development

oil shale

of

center,

The Rifle

growth.

area

but Glenwood Springs

would still receive growth

Three

takes

condition, Meeker

new

relatively less important because

They

general

physical

of

would

are

patterns

(1) laissez-faire

are

controlled expansion of

would

the

of

feel

more

be important

still

Grand Junction

location

again

will

oil

as

would

be

shale plants.

however.

(little

for the

possible

control

no

existing communities,

of

the three

(2)

growth),

(3) development

or

deter

will

Broadly described,

or

The

region.

governing bodies

take.

mine which pattern new growth will

possibilities

growth

new

Rangely

and

the growth philosophies of the

policies and

of

and

the

in the Piceance Basin

place

distribution

the Utah sites, then the

change.
of

Creek,

Meeker to

and

amenities

urban

Mines

of

of new

communities.

these, development would take the path of least resis


tance, seeking out flat land and available water. The Colorado River
Valley on both sides of Interstate 70 would see scattered urban growth.
In the first

growth

scattered

would

grow, probably in

Much

of

the

the growth

development
This type

of

forethought

of

to

landowners

requires

might

land.

available

take

place

and

The

Rangely

in

would

too

communities

unincorporated

areas,

routes.

leaving

districts.
distinct possibiltiy. It takes the least amount
a minimum of land-use controls.
There is

seek services

is

of growth

Meeker

linear fashion along their transportation

would

areas

and

on

sympathy for this approach,

even some

ber

Valley between

the White River

Secondarily,
experience

of

through

since

reap the benefits

special

potentially, the

of urban

largest

development

on

num

their

land.

Administratively,
advantages

and

would

school

which

were

community.

this

give

pattern would

way to long-term

districts tried to
urban

in

be

nature

Fortunately,

provide

but too

these

a nightmare.

grief as

scattered

problems are

to

short-run

county

commissioners

to

developments

services

efficient

The

make

beginning

to

recognizable

be

recognized

by leaders in the area.


Another development
growth

of

pattern

would

the existing communities.

The

see

the contiguous,

medium-size

controlled

communities

al-

Western Colorado: Choices

ready have the beginnings of urban service systems


mental organization. The
existing community could

for

to the

for

that

urban sprawl

and

the

serve as

is certainly

pattern

could come about with no

govern

existing

nucleus

preferable

philosophy

or control

growth.

It
come

cause

also

would

to many

would not

be

of

There is

some

able

handle this

to

not

Substantial

problems.

the existing towns.

The town may

expense.

of

This

expanded urban center.

greatly

131

Growth

for

Existing

growth

new

systems and organizations

growth without substantial change and

be willing

to

or able

effect

these

changes.

also a risk that substantial new growth would change the

Considerable

the community.

between

will

between

cooperation

communities

be necessary to

counties and communities will

lifestyle

bring

and

about such

a pattern.

The

New services,

vantages.

in

The

a renewed

of

the

the

many times their


towns to

A true

If

new

new

the

growth,

be less costly to provide


Also when the oil shale

less land

take

should

is

the

suggested

be

nation are

these

of

several

raises

by

the very

possible under

communities

absorb some of

scattered urbani

out

sensing

lands.

that might

This

to

opposed

world and

pattern

existing

present size.

help

the

agricultural

numbers of people

absorb all of

of new

when

development

possible

development.

shale

time

ad

recognizable social and gov

existing towns

compact growth of

importance in

A third

will

than in scattered areas.

has stabilized, there will be


benefits in community identity as

of agricultural use at a

tude

costly,

long-run

however, has

control,

over or

ernmental

zation.

of

while always

compact communities

boom is

degree

acceptance of a

are

magni

intensive

oil

to be expected to

communities will swell

to

the question of the possibility

this growth.

town is a complex, and expensive undertaking.

It

re

before it is ready for its


three-county area has dealt

quires a sponsor and considerable time and effort

first inhabitant. No
with

the

unit of government

town problem, yet

new

selection process and

In

Colony

spite of

the

the

eventual

difficulties,

at

they

in the

will need

delivery
least

to

be involved in the

of services

one new

to any

town is

Development Operation in Parachute Creek has


commissioners

of

Garfield

distance

of

Roan Creek

new

being
made

site

townsite.

considered.

preliminary

County

regarding a new
townsite on the mesas south of the existing community of Grand Valley.
This site would conveniently service plant operations in Parachute Creek
presentations

and

is

to the

also within

C-b. Another
would

new

driving

community in the

northern part of

be helpful if the Piceance Creek

intensive

oil shale operations.

and

area

federal lease

the oil shale

becomes the focal

site

region

point

for

Quarterly

132
The

controlled growth of

of one or

two

for

pattern

population
share

in

new

that

2- to

although

considerable

congress and

ever, the
attuned

the

state

right choice of a

development

existing

distribution

of

communities would

to

planned

western

come on stream

Colorado

at either

interest has been

legislature.

oil shale region will need

to

development

to

5-year future.

are still no clear-cut growth policies

level,

the

all

be

could

is coming to

growth

Mines

would maintain a reasonable

towns

in the

of

communities plus

existing

region and ensure

The

growth.

Substantial

both

This

the region.

in the

Colorado School

townsites is probably the

new

ease growth pressures

there

of the

to

the

shown

at

its

own

when

national or state

in the

In the immediate

make

time

decisions

subject

future,

while

by

how

keeping

state and national policies.

Are local

ready for the possible impacts? An honest


answer is
probably no; however, in the same breath it should also be add
ed that there is an increasing awareness of the potential problems and a

beginning

governments

of efforts

money.

course,

to find

to pay for the

Money

One

solutions.

the

of

major problems

required capital

facilities

and

is,

of

money

for them before they become necessary. Appeals have been made
to both the state and federal governments for help in this regard. The

to

plan

question now

is how

soon and

in

At present, the three-county


and room
of

the

those

be

first

to

make some

major

which

influx

deliberate

of people

by

to

growth

the

lifestyle

form

will

is sparsely

the

help

arrive.

populated.

choices about growth.

into the

challenge

overwhelmed

live.

area

follow. The

some semblance of

to

what

region will set

There is time

The

handling

the pattern

for

to the existing communities is not to

accommodate

which makes

growth and still maintain

the

region an attractive place

COLORADO OIL SHALE AND WATER

Roland C. Fischer

The Colorado River is the

most

controlled, and,

therefore,

litigated

river

in the

you

controversial and most

Colorado is the

two

subject of

world.

Congressionally

As

ratified

and one

international treaty.

The 1922

River

Lees

into the Lower Basin

at

Nevada)

and

Wyoming).

Ferry, Arizona,

The 1944 Mexican

to Mexico.

that the

compacts and

In my

Colorado's

most

may know, the


interstate compacts

divided the Colorado

(California,

Arizona

the Upper Basin

and

per year

duces.

compact

the

The

(Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and


Treaty guaranteed VA million acre-feet

root cause of all

treaty divided up
I

remarks

will

appropriation system.

litigation is

the controversy and


more water

than the

assume

that this audience

Further,

the Mexican

river pro

understands

Treaty has

recently
increased controversy because the federal administration has in
terpreted it very broadly to include water quality which was not men
caused

in the treaty itself.


The Colorado River may be the subject of even more controversy
in the relatively near future as the Upper Colorado River Basin begins

tioned

to

at all

put more of their compact-allocated share of the river to

Much

of

the

term increase in use

near

will come

in

beneficial

Colorado,

use.

specifically

Colorado.

Certainly Colorado is going to increase its use of water


for irrigation, but the immediacy of western Colorado increasing its use
western

of

its

if

"energy
rado's

primarily because

rivers comes about

you

prefer,

energy resources, specifically

emphasize

shale

and

oil

resource user of water and


plants cannot

For

be neatly

background,

the primary

western

Secretary-Engineer,
Springs, Colo.

water,

energy

interest here

oil

as related

shale,

coal

will

crisis or

today is Colo
I

to water.

be

shale oil and coal-fired

heavy

will

energy

thermal electric

separated.

the

Colorado River Water Conservation District is

Colorado

The

the nation's

and your

although

actually

of

Colorado

water

River

policy
Water

133

body,

and

the

Conservation

principal

head-

District, Glenwood

Quarterly

134
waters of

the Colorado River

rado's oil shale

lies

within

River District is 29,000


the

established

by

for Colorado

same

the

fought

the

since

to

little

which

the River District

in the

of origin so

the

it

has

courts

was

would

be

established, it

when

Colo

of

the

Colorado,

and safeguard

entitled

was established at

some water on

there

of

area of

is equitably

appropriated water

to hold

All

over one-fourth of

develop

state

The

corporation

The State Water Board

shale oil water and

the time is

quasi-municipal

waters

compact.

transversions

in the basins

like

of

all

time. Ever

for

is

which

Mines

(fig. 1).

the River District

miles,

of

its boundaries

the legislature in 1937 to conserve,

the 1922

need

Colorado School

originate within

square

The District is

state.

under

of the

has

for

the

anticipated

shale oil and

the western slope

the time came.

It looks

now.

mentioned

the

geographic

WYOMING

division

of

the river into two

SEVERAL SELECTED
RESERVOIRS THAT CAN
SUPPLY OIL SHALE
WATER

Figure

1.Colorado

River Water Conservation District.

basins.

Colorado Oil Shale

Well,

far

as

Upper

and

District.

Ferry

is concerned, approximately 53

as water volume

flow

the gaged

Ferry, Arizona, the dividing point between the


Lower Colorado River Basins, originates within the River
62

Approximately

be

state's share can

the

and

450,000

tainly

the

dissolved

high quality

taking

of

solids

concentration

in

Colorado River Basin,

entire

at

Lees

waters and

the

state straddles the

has

lot

cost us a

(currently

about

Colorado. Cer
detrimental effect on the

transverted to eastern

are

year),

this

The

state.

high quality headwaters

the

of

acre-feet per

Colorado River

in the

flow

limit Colorado to

compacts

the one-man-one-vote principle

and

much

But the

scarce

used anywhere

Continental Divide

the calculated virgin

percent of

the District.

originates within

water

percent of

Lees

at

the use of about one-fourth of

of

135

Water

and

has

water

Colorado,

western

the

detriments at, say, Lake

measurable

with

indeed, in

and,

Mead.

The
reduce

some

the

Colorado River

some

example,

Board's

the

parts

in the

main

decreed direct flow

slope, the

for

claims

east slope

but

water

and

not

will put

it belongs.

approximately 500

oil shale water

Denver! For

the Denver Water

of

transversion.

Eagle-Piney

are

certainly

is concerned, Colorado is di

may have heard

audience

will

western slope where

where water

west

there

stem

the

use on

proposed

controversial

Colorado

to

water

the truism that

into three

Colorado

western

surrounding Colorado River

controversies

often recite

vided

in

production of shale oil

cfs

that are

Well,

on

the

of

conditionally
senior in priority

date to Denver's Eagle-Piney transversion. The industry will probably


not be able to avoid having to defend its conditional decrees, although
be the only adversary.
production is usually discussed in terms of 50,000 barrel
I suspect that this is probably because retorts handling the

the Denver Water Board

Shale
per

day

oil

units.

the

energy

will

requirements

have developed in
-they are worth

But

reliable.

we

doubt

be. So I

our office:

just
are

the

not

optimum size.

and water resources

numbers, but I

quirement

probably

of rock are

comparable quantities
concerned with

will

what

that
will

these

they

anyone

own set of water re

really knows exactly

give you some of the

numbers are comparable

cost

using them

has his

I think everybody

as

you;

and are perhaps

a guide until

the

what

numbers we

to

free

just

industry

advice

about as

tells

us

differently.
For

production of each

approximately 8,000
there

will

160,000

be

breakdown is

as

of

per

day

unit of crude shale

oil,

be totally consumed;
barrel per day industry,

acre-feet of water per year will

no return

acre-feet

50,000 barrel

flow. So for

water

follows:

will

million

be totally

consumed.

The

percentage

136

Quarterly

40%
60%

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

64,000

evaporated
and

chemically

mechanically locked in

96,000
160,000

acre-feet

50,000 BPOD unit, municipal water will be required for at least


water requirements are not included in the
1,000 people. These

For

each

people-

above

and

estimate,

the

are

neither

thermal

associated

power

require

ments.

The

largest,

richest oil shale reserves are

and

appropriation

system, just because

available
of

for the taking. In

really knows how


time for

given

an

recognized

the

a solution.

After

time,

digital

shale

deal

and

lutely

of

determine the

any time

on either

for any

essential

oil shale and

especially
White Rivers.

first

by

efforts

many

at

water

this time

toward

trying

no

give

to find

long

people over a

will

CORSIM II.

amount

of

period

answers

reliable

It is the only tool

water

available

river. CORSIM

operation

coal, that

II, or a
involving large

will

similar

capital

require water

Of the 15 participants, 10

or

River,

the

it is

to

availability in the two basins. The tool is CORSIM


model of the two basins. There are 15 participants

kind

point at

the

of effort

funded the development


can

not mean

is actually reliably available at any


industry. In late 1969 the River District

who

it

the White

has been developed that

computer

does

a river

much water

a great

questions about water

II,

including

problem and started

tool

oil

is in

water

the

Under Colorado's

spite of almost countless studies of

the Colorado River Basin,

one

of

by

south

by

the north

on

the Colorado River.

White River

the

bounded

are

at

any
tool, is

of

its

given

abso

investments,

from the Colorado


interested in

directly

oil

(Areo, Exxon, Cities Service, Getty, Mobil, Cleveland-Cliffs. TOS


CO, Union Oil, Chevron, Sohio); four are water agencies (The River
District, Denver Water Board, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy
District, and the City of Colorado Springs ) ; one is a public utility ( Public

shale

Service

Company

of

Colorado).

CORSIM II

David

hoff Quade
,

A
shale

and

January 31, 1974. The


E. Fleming Company of Denver

great

lease

Douglas

shale ventures

and

was

of

and

Parsons,

Brinker-

New York.

publicity has been given to the federal Colorado


in the White River Basin but five of the seven current

deal

sales

$475,000

consultants were a joint-

completed and accepted

venture of

cost

of

we are aware of are on private

Colorado River Basin.

They

land

and

four

are:

ON FEDERAL LAND

Colorado federal

oil shale

tract Ca:

Colorado federal

oil shale

tract Cb : White River Basin

White River Basin

are

oil
oil

in the

Colorado Oil Shale

and

137

Water

ON PRIVATE LAND

The Superior Oil Compact Tract: White River Basin


The Garrett Research (Occidental Oil Co.) in-situ process:
Colorado River Basin
The

announced

50,000 BPOD

Colony Group

Colorado River

plant:

Basin
The

announced

18-company

Bureau

Paraho retorting
Although

some

have heard

direct-flow

federal

quite a

of

California 50-150,000 BPOD

Rifle, Colo
Mines Anvil Points facility, testing the

bit

way

near

Colorado River Basin

process:

especially in the White River


we

of

pilot plant venture now under

at the old

rado,

Company

Colorado River Basin

plant:

The

Union Oil

may be available part of the year,


the Yellow Jacket project decrees and

water

under

about

the

saline ground waters under

Colorado

oil shale

tracts Ca

and

be

required

to

ensure

reliable

industrial

municipal water supply.

As

of now

it

appears

to the River District that

the

provide

storage

will

industry

will need

to

Cb in the White River Basin,

its

surface water

and

associated

facilities. Almost every

own storage

probably has some ideas about Green Mountain and


Ruedi Reservoirs. Some may have concluded or even been advised that
in this

one

room

Green Mountain Reservoir holds 100,000


shale

industry.

This is simply

legal analysis, but


the

short of

for the

of

The issue is

true.

establishes

in

for

water

fairly

it is that Senate Document

Green Mountain Reservoir,

waters of

priorities

the

not

acre-feet

80,

the Colorado River

the Gunnison

Any

River;

contract entered

oil water user would

and

and

its tributaries

paragraph
as

(c)

finally (4)

the

into between the


necessarily

shale

oil and other

Secretary

provide

of

Interior

for interruptions

the

follows:

the confluence

above

in

which covers

(1) agricultural and domestic uses existing as of June 15, 1937; (2)
losses; (3) future domestic and irrigation requirements in western
rado on

oil

complex

the 100,000 acre-feet,

consumptive use of

an

river

Colo
with

industries.

and a shale

when water

is

for any of the first three priorities. The River District believes
that the future domestic and irrigation requirements will be significant.

required

The River District is currently in the process of developing data to


determine the future domestic requirements from the 100,000 acre-feet.

These domestic
the
will

requirements will

Colorado River Basin,


increase

as a result of

be for the existing

which will grow and

the

shale oil

their

and

future towns in

water requirements

industry. We have

not yet calcu

future requirement, but the future domestic and irrigation re


quirements will necessarily place a first call on the 100,000 acre-feet pool

lated

that

138

Quarterly

Green Mountain

of

that the
water

industry

construction

for

available

industry,

this

Fork River

The Basalt

water.

uses will

In addition, Ruedi is

an

draw

is usually

level below

which water cannot

it left

in the

Ruedi Reservoir is in

even

recreation

many

recreation

out

level

is 1,000

of

Further,

Ruedi

to

be

feet,

used

At this

required

gave

reservoir.

to

point
meet

that there is

is

the

Part

in time nobody knows how


those

decrees.

senior

funds

although

industry,

of

Ruedi's

it

will

Ruedi

water

much

Ruedi

must

we wish

the

neither

be

to

subject

for

7,000

requirement

from Ruedi Reser

that it is the River

District's

reservoirs contain some short-term water

long-range

as

acre-

to interruption.

point out

Green Mountain

40,000

low

of maybe as

contract

water will

Reclamation

of

project will require

amount of water available

upon as reliable
oil

and

amount of

The Bureau

a replacement requirement

uncertain and will

Therefore,
that

is,

replace

up trying to figure it out.


But if we can assume that the Basalt

imposed,

voir

that

the construction

part of

acre-feet, and to this we must then add whatever recreation

is

not want

existing senior users in the Roaring Fork


the Fryingpan-Arkansas project's direct flow diversions are not

so

shut off.

do

Ruedi is the Fryingpan-Arkansas

yet another uncertainty.

necessarily be

Some

acre-feet.

Reservoir,

nonreimbursable recreation

replacement

The dead

in Ruedi the

pool;

vocal conservation groups

acre-feet.

transversion project

Basin,

similar

without a shale

reservoir.

certainly be the basis for a demand that a fairly large


Reservoir water be left in the recreation pool.
There is

are

Ruedi Reservoir.

be drawn

present water

102,000

at

on

to be the

considered

personnel and

variation at all

costs of

there

take about 40,000

project will

Further,

important

storage pool

want

industry,

water

domestic

Forest Service

to the

contract

Ruedi Reser

acre-foot

supply for domestic purposes in the Roaring


is becoming critical. At this point we do not know to

area

what extent

they

the industrial

subsidize

in the 102,000

from Ruedi Reservoir.

firm

water

short-term

acre-feet of water

any

able to

are not

supply.

uncertainties about

oil

stored

already existing

thereby

and

to point out

wants

because the towns

users

of storage

Although there may be


voir

the

taking

anticipate

cannot

Mines

of

the River District

Further,

water.

away from the domestic

finance the
water

Colorado School

of the

nor

sources of

Ruedi Reservoirs

large

opinion

for

a shale oil

can

be looked

amounts of water

for

a shale

industry.

The necessary
structed on

comments

water storage

decrees held

here

are

by

the

for the industry

industry

and

limited to River District

probably be
the River District.
will

by
decrees, however,

con

My

and the

Colorado Oil Shale


River District's decrees in both basins

for

White River
Yellow Jacket

139

and associated municipal requirements.

Conservancy

heard

the Yellow Jacket project

District may be

liable direct-flow water, but beyond


quired there, too. ( See fig. 1.
)
We have

Water

will ensure a reliable water

industry
Basin, decrees held for

an oil shale

and

available

a certain

to supply

point storage

supply
In the

by

the

some re

will

be

re

front end money will be required


for the early impacts of an oil shale industry on the
western slope counties. This is true.
Colorado is looking to the federal
government for front end money, at least part of which would come from

to pay

at

all

least in

comments

part

the 3732

percent allocated

But the

industry

money, be

County

cannot

to Colorado

from

the

federal

land lease

oil

sales.

pay its own way and will probably, with front end
help. For instance, two Garfield County commission

must

asked

ers with whom

that

to

I recently discussed this

look to the

receipt of

problem

believe that Garfield

federal funds in the

amounts or

in

pay for the front end problems that are fast coming upon the
And they say that industry must supply money to help solve
county.
these problems that are being created by the industry's activities. These
time to

funds

help

for planning, roads, schools, sewer plants, and on and


have stated that they have no intention of bankrupting Garfield

are required

They
County to meet the large

on.

facilities actually

oil

impact

between

expenses

generate tax

We

revenues.

recognizes the need

to satisfy these

its responsibility to

work

are

sure

requirements and

with the counties

and

the time

now and

the

the

shale

industry

is willing to

meet

help

solve

state

to

the problem.

Colorado is pressing forward


are not

for the

willing to trade

peaches vs. a

its

barrel

the

of oil.

own

energy

in

about

Colorado

are not

the

irrigation projects;
agricultural

as

relative value

used must

Colorado is perfectly

decisions,
be

made

Houston, Los Angeles, New York

the

in

or

we

base

ready to let the money

The River District thinks that

environmental

is to be

our western

We just

decisions

be accommodated, but just

rado's water
not

totally

production of energy.

market alone make

can

off

with our planned

decisions

of a

all of

bushel
these

capable of

as

to

of

uses

making

how Colo

Colorado, by Colorado,
Washington, D. C.

and

CULTURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN COLORADO

James J. Hester

The

Colorado, both

cultural resources of western

historical,

development

oil shale

of

the Piceance

the state and

with

federal

impending

a result of the

as

Creek Basin. Participants in this

responsibility for the

conference share the

remains

destruction

are threatened with

archaeological and

these

salvage or preservation of

that

agencies

lands in the

manage

region.

The Office
regional

study

spective

land

to their

basic

Colorado State Archaeologist

of the

inventory

and

owners

for

addition,

such

wise

Such

an

inventory

management

inventory

an

be formed

carried

out

mined, studied,

or set aside as cultural reserves.

study is imperative in that

useful

in the

the prior

Therefore,

study

needed

the

oil

The

re

relative

In

development

shale

need

frequently

of remains on

either

for

to

regional

be

a regional

practiced sea

isolated lease tracts

of prior

to provide the

selection of areas

inhabitants

balanced understanding

is

to

prior

information

never provide a

by

these cultural resources.

of

would provide

sonal migrations.

funded

and

federalin a proportion
private, state, and

respective ownerships.

prerequisite

project

that

recommends

land-use

will

pat

terns.

only preliminary surveys have been carried out at two loca


tions within the basin. The Naval oil shale reserves have been surveyed

So

by

far,

party directed

by

Dr. David Bretemitz

of

the

University

of

Colo

The recently leased Ca and Cb tracts have also been surveyed by a


party directed by Dr. Calvin Jennings of Colorado State University. These
efforts have covered about 10 percent of the lands within the Piceance
rado.

Creek Basin; the majority


unknown

in terms

On the basis
that the

of

their

of

the

oil

shale

lands

archaeological and

of studies

of

are

historical

surrounding regions,

remains of several major cultural groups will

as yet

completely

potential.

we

may

be found

basin.
Acting Colorado

State Archaeologist,

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.


141

anticipate
within

the

142

Quarterly
The

place

to

earliest

peoples

areas

Later,

date

began

region

for

since

the

of

headdresses

figures
the

in

Mines

Their

beans

corn,

and

of pithouses

permanent villages
as

shelters.

often

from

moved

who

occupying rock
5,000 to 6,000 years B.C.

Known

they both

and

above-

the Fremont culture, these peoples

They

painted and pecked

are perhaps

designs

on

best known

the sandstone

Large standing human figures wearing elaborate


the best known. Other designs include handprints, shield

region.
are

Within

find

the

rockshelters,

remains

perishable

cordage,

which

basketry,

they

also

occupied,

and even remains of

pottery was another common Fremont character


Most striking perhaps is the evidence we have found that the Fre

headdresses. Use

istic.

gatherers

and

from 500 to 1200 A.D.

and animals.

we also

as

of

region adopted agriculture of

living

lived in the
their art

early

rooms.

masonry

hunters

the year,

in the

peoples

squash and

cliffs

as

Colorado School

were

place throughout

camping

ground

of the

of

mont peoples also practiced cannibalism.

Later

peoples shifted

temporary

occupied

campsites on

These later

villages.

back to

peoples

hunting

the ridge

and

gathering economy

tops,

include the historic

rather

Utes,

than

and

permanent

some of whose pole

"wickiups,"

structures, termed

Finally

we

still stand.

have

evidence of

The

occupants of the region.


and

horse traps

that must not

Our

are all part

be destroyed in

estimate of

field party

of about

the

30

the immediate ancestors of the

remains of

of

mining camps, line shack, corrals,

Colorado's historical

our search

size of

current

for

heritage,

heritage

additional sources of energy.

the project required includes

people and a permanent

laboratory

a summer

staff of

10. The

be in the vicinity of $150,000 per year for 5


field work, followed by $100,000 or more per year for 5 years of

total costs would therefore


years of

laboratory
The total

analysis

costs

thus

of

materials

recovered

anticipated are about

and

$1/2

research

million.

report

writing.

DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY FOR IN SITU


OIL SHALE PROCESSES

Harry C.

Carpenter

Harold W. Sohns

and

ABSTRACT

Laboratory
Mines

of

and pilot plant research

the Laramie

at

ment of

in

research

indicate that

centration
vance rate

does

situ

Energy

retorting

being conducted by

Research Center to

for treating

processes

fairly

is

flux, but
Oils

not occur at the maximum advance rate.

of oil shale will

retorting
and a

higher

produced
pressure

permeability

aboveground

many

an effect on oil
of a

bed

of

yield,

broken

Retorting

this

ad

maximum oil yield

produced

by

distillate fractions than


processes.

retorting

Total

and overburden pressure

oil shale

of

in

situ

points, higher API gravities,

pour

lower-boiling

percentage of

by

has

have lower

develop

and oxygen con

velocity

an optimum oil yield.

oxygen

the

Bureau

Results

oil shale.

wide ranges of gas

may be used to produce


increases with increasing

support

the

during

will oils

system

gas

decreases the

retorting.

INTRODUCTION
Liquid fuels have been

produced

from

oil

shale

in

various parts of

early 1800s, but at the present time viable


oil shale industries exist only in the Soviet Union and the People's Re
public of China. Although a number of companies were
producing oil
the world

from
of

oil shale

liquid

try.

the

since

in the United States in 1860 (Gavin

petroleum

During

the

relatively high

middle or

in 1859

1920s,

price

of

interest in

the Bureau

of

and

shale oil

several

revived
pilot

Mines (Gavin

of petroleum at

Energy Research Center, Bureau


Laramie, Wyo.
Laramie

the

oil shale was

petroleum,

by
including
discoveries
large
However,
two

soon ended

of

143

1922), the discovery


industry in this coun

and

because

of the

plants were

built,

Desmond 1930).

that time caused a

Mines, U.S. Department

decline in

of the

Interior,

144

Quarterly

the price of

petroleum,

to

Liquid Fuels Act


this

under

tensive
and

of

using the gas


Anvil Points

was

facility

25

in

and

used

by

oil companies

working

in the Department
shale

is

of organic and

only slightly
pressure. For

1966 )

was operated at the

efforts

limited

were

to

to

of

do

in

produce

Production

from

constituents.
common

The

solvents

processing

place

to

and

program

interest

has been high.

of

at

ambient

oil shale must

mining

is

organic material

solid and

temperature

be mined,

may have

and

crushing,

organic

material.

requires pyrolysis
the shale must

of waste shale after

economic

be

be heated to sufficiently high

permeability for the flow of


for reasonable reaction rates. The

disposing

and

must

provide adequate

mining, crushing, and


process

a series of

Develop
Colony group

retorting,

by pyrolysis of the solid


shale
by in situ processing also

and sufficient surface area

situ

in
and

retorting, the

oil

material, but instead

fractured in

hydrocarbons

culminated

leasing

oil shale

to an appropriate size, and must

of organic

situ

became

products

consolidated rock composed of a complex mixture

in

oil

has

research on aboveground

aboveground

of oil

petroleum

be

discrepancy

Garrett Research

industry.

the Interior

inorganic

soluble

increasing demand

fuels. As the

this interest

and

using the TOSCO II process, a group of


Paraho has leased the Anvil Points facility

with

highly

of crude oil

production

a plant

temperatures to

the in

oil shale as a source of

experiments on

for

as

demand for

and

government and

the government

ation of

conducted an ex

developed,

the rapidly

pace with

principally

recent weeks

announced plans

fluids

years of operation

retorting
demonstration-scale plant

et al.

domestic

the

kept

not

is conducting field

crushed

Mines

were

Bureau's

the

and

in the mid-1960s, interest in

activities

Oil

and

( Matzick

years

domestic supply

increased,

from

methods

conducted,

discontinued

for liquid hydrocarbons

has

of

Synthetic

the

passage of

process

Rifle, Colorado. In 1955 demonstration-scale

near

liquids has

natural gas

ment

Mining

program.

the past

During

apparent

in

successful

small-scale work.

relatively

tween

commercially

5, 1944. In approximately 11

combustion retort

were

oil shale and resulted

April

research

refining

develop

to

its extensions, the Bureau

act and

research

activities

from

oil

activity was again halted. The huge


and after World War II prompted the

during

resume efforts

for producing

Mines

of

and oil shale

demand for liquid fuels


government

Colorado School

of the

and

process
elimin

retorting

environmental

be

by

advantages

over aboveground processing.

Beginning

in the early

concentrated on

1960s,

development

of

Bureau

in

situ

of

Mines retorting

retorting

methods.

research was

Batch

retorts

designed to study the retorting characteristics of material that might


be found in a nuclear chimney in oil shale, and laboratory and field rewere

Technology

145

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

for

fracturing oil shale by nonnuclear means was started (Campbell,


Scott, and Miller 1970). As the fracturing research progressed, two in situ

search on

experiments

recovery
and

and

1970; Carpenter 1972). Both of these experiments were


concept of igniting the shale in an injection well and forcing

the

on

liquids

gases and

horizontally

surrounding the injection

ating

first

the

The

the

experiment

oil, 190

of

quantity

In the

site was still producing.

fractured

oil shale was

barrels,

the

a solid explosive within the wellbores.

no significant

quantity

achieved

was

shale

Analysis

rates

to

is

evaluation

surface

area

was

produce

liquid

products.

Mines

of

at

and

of

for

several

weeks.

sustain

present a

indicate

system

high

enough

field

third

the

that

reaction

experiment

variables needed

has

temperatures
pyrolyzes

to

part of

the

produce about

66

that

burn only the


recover

obvious

shale

depth

the particle-size

and

the

research

velopment of an

results of

this

optimum

it

provide

When

oil shale
solid

is heated to

organic

matter

oil, 10 percent gas, and 24 percent


the inorganic matrix of the shale.

for combustion, it

should

to supply energy

shale.

factors

projects

in

be

for the

combustion of

distribution
If the in

that

of

the

the

possible

to

process and

carbonaceous

the gas injected into

bed,

situ operation

the

amount of

is to be

conducted

and

overburden pressure and

that must
are

situ process.

research.

the

and composition of

in thick seams,

gas pressure are also

describe

on

factors that influence

the rate of injection

bed,

the

and oil.

organic material on

at great

percent

carbonaceous residue

the gas

residue are

to a

remains

by

Currently

situ retorting.

700 to 900 F, the

the proper conditions

using

for in

organic material.
of

carbonaceous residue

The

the

order

on

conducted

energy for the required


liquid crude oil is to ignite the oil

way to

pyrolysis of solid organic material

bum

being

LERC has been designed to determine the

the operating

shale and

research

pilot-plant

appears that the most practical

the

At

ignition

fracturing of the oil shale in preparation for the recovery

and

laboratory

values of

to

to

available

experiment

However,

fracture

the

of

In this

the

fractured

shale was

sustained

was

while

underway.

The
Bureau

combustion

and
and

been designed
phase

produced.

was

results

of

insufficient

oil

deton

by

terminated

and was

second experiment

pump

oil shale

experiment produced

by detonating

of

by

fractured

to the

well

wells

recovery

combustion was sustained

injection

the

several

in two horizontal fractures. This

nitroglycerin

a significant

fractures to

through

well.

through

compressed air

formation. In

By

(Burwell, Sterner,

conducted

Carpenter

based

ing

designed

were

be

being

We

considered.
conducted

also

include

In

total

system

this paper we

to support the

summaries

of

de

recent

146

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

Mines

of

RESEARCH SUPPORTING IN SITU DEVELOPMENT


To

operating variables on the in situ retorting


process, the study using the batch retorts designed to evaluate the retorting
characteristics of a nuclear chimney in oil shale was extended. The 10evaluate

and

150-ton

gas

injection

bed,

used

to study the effects that the

composition, the

and

rates

of

being

retorts are

the

and

the effects

potential oil content of

the

bed have

retorting

distribution

particle-size

of

the

retorting results, in

on

cluding oil yield and quality.


A smaller batch retort was designed to study the effects of some of
these same variables over wider ranges and to include the additional
variables of

first

heating

rate and

total

series of experiments used nitrogen as

hydrogen,

is using

future

and

In this

system gas pressure.

retorting gas,

series will use other

gases,

retort

the

the current series

including

carbon

dioxide and methane.


To

simulate overburden pressure

free-standing

by

created

chimney

that might

designed to load mechanically


desired pressure that might be found in
using different

Laboratory
a

large in

situ

into an

bed

a chimney.

process

retorting

the retorting

by

1974)

operation and

overall model of

a small

means,

of oil shale

to any

Experiments

the retorting

Operation

best be

mathematical modeling.

Carpenter

and

tall,

were

grades of oil shale.

and pilot-plant research results can

(Fausett, George,
phase of

a short

in

encountered

nuclear or nonnuclear

retort was

conducted

be

is to

develop

extended to

One

models

then combine these

approach

for

each

smaller models

process.

10-Ton Batch Retort

of a

ton, batch oil shale retort shown in figure 1 is a


6-foot-OD vessel 12 feet high. It is a refractory-lined steel shell with an
opening at the top for loading shale and a hinged gate at the bottom for
supporting the shale bed. A hoist is mounted at the top of the super
structure for loading shale into the vessel.
The

nominal

size, 10

A flow diagram
gas

burner

mounted

of

the 10-ton

through the

retort

retort

is

shown

lid is

used

in figure 2. A
to initiate

natural

combustion

displacement blower is used to force air


into the top of the retort to move the retorting zone downward through
the shale bed. Most of the liquid products from the retort are collected
in an oil tank below the retort vessel. After leaving the oil tank, gaseous
of

the

shale charge.

products

containing

through a packed

positive

some

water

and

oil

tower, two demist tanks,

mist

are

passed

successively

and a water-cooled

heat

ex-

Technology

for

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

147

7-r--ton hoist

k
6

Refractory lining

Figure

1. 10-ton oil shale retort.

148

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

O O

Mines

Z
-o

^2

a-

OH-

-a-

a:

pCM

rO^

il L#3
"H*

-<

6
as

6b
cs

a>

E
Q>

TEflHI
^-H

Ji

I
o
IC

/^v

o
2C

*>
w

L>

or
II

OC

22

ZZZZZ2ZZgZ3g3

Li-

<_>
J

=dm

q>

S
-J

s
o*

Technology
to

changer

is

vented

burner to
tion

it

some of

excess

the

remove most of

can

be

to the

oxidize

the

back into the

recycled

The

stack.

The

shale.

retort

earlier

Fischer

has been

recent
with

15

the

and

for

gas stream

that potential

analysis of

inch in size, 60
smaller

the test

percent was smaller

Fischer

pollu

No

piece was

of

5.59

flux

oxygen

from

The

points.

For
the

to

better

is

96

varies with

flux

The

the

more

oil shale mixed

assay

gallons per

70

and

ton.

than 1

percent was

Oil

recoveries

from 32.5 to 55.7

ranged

in these experiments

volume-

Superficial

measure of

recovery

the total

was

low

foot

shale, the

oil

velocity

degree

recovery

Stepwise

the

equation

of

bed.

effects of

multiple regres

curve

fitted to these
flow

superficial gas

for this

in the test

required

for

curves

family

data. The

rate of

family

of curves

curves

The flow

plotted

velocity
a

maximum oil

the retorting gas.

indi

recovery

conditions

correspond

to

an

scfm/ft2.

of success of

as percent of the

not

1.22

high.

effects of

The

of

volume-percent.

with oxygen flux the

variation

0.60 to 0.70

This is obviously

from

from 8 to 21

for the

based

gas velocities

retort ranged

lean

velocity

the retorting gas on the oil recovery,

in figure 4.

the

were

per minute per square

recovery for the five

of about

oil

lean

than 20 inches.

equation

section

oxygen content of

oil

taken to be the
charge.

cross

superficial gas

the

The

assay.

charge with an

inches,

in figure 3.

conception of the

percent of

maximum

oxygen

bed

presented

that the

in the high 70s

percent was smaller

experiments with

obtain

oxygen content of

of curves

explains

the

correlation of oil

oxygen per unit of

cate

feet

on oil yield are shown

sion analysis was used

and

larger

oil

analysis of each shale charge

than 4

the empty

standard cubic

results

blended

that 27

oxygen content of this gas was varied

Using

Fischer

used

determined

ton as

from 12.8 to 16

the retorting gas.

cross-sectional area of

high

shale

variables studied

and oxygen content of

The

oil

1968)

were

used

grades of oil

assay.

The operating

obtain a

shale showed

from processing the leaner

the

percent of

Fischer assay

ton.

Sohns

gallons per

Sohns 1972 )

and

to

and

these studies

oil content ranged

than 10 inches.

percent of

80

different

two

process

25 to 30

from

of oil

oil shale

gallons per

to

used

experiments were

25-gallon-per-ton

showed

Size

Yields

( Dockter, Harak,

study

of about

for

in the

(Carpenter, Tihen,

work

assay.

from two

and

to

is

equipped with a natural gas

combustible components

shale with a potential oil content of

on

is

stack

desired,

if

retort

gas stream

control.

The 10-ton

by

line pressure, the

to increase

149

After passing through

entrained material.

displacement blower

a positive

split;

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

for

the tests

described has been

Fischer assay

the only available

criterion

of

by

the

oil shale

which

these

Quarterly

150

of the

60

Colorado School

Mines

of

1
O

O
</>

**^\

10

a>

40

u.

*-

"o
>

20

>
o

OR.

UJ

R2=0.87

or

S.E.

_j

1.549 +

I48.3(0.F.)-

F)2

108.6(0.

of est. =2.79

02

0.4

0.6

0.8

OXYGEN

Figure

3. Oil

60

FLUX,

oxygen

versus

recovery

flux for 10-ton

1.0

SCFM/ft2

\. >v\i>v>^>^

40

////

s'

XI7 |
_>

"c

'

f//s

LiJ
u>

30
i

S.

,5

<U

tests.

>I3
"^s-ll

CT

*g

oil shale

50

lean

retort

^/

>-

.-

XI9

o
CO

"*

\\
\

>-

oc

20

Oil recovery

21.673
+

I.7370(oxy)(sgv)-0.0l032

UJ

[(oxy)(sgv)]

z
t

\\

2
UJ
cr

QI
R2
_l

.96

10

Standard

error of estimate

12

SUPERFICIAL GAS

Figure.

4. Oil

recovery

versus

gas

1.94

VELOCITY,

scfm/sq ft

velocity for 10-ton

retort

lean

oil

shale

tests.

Technology
tests

is

can

be

evaluated.

recovered as oil

In figure

5,

is

for

The

percent organic carbon

is the

significant and so

the retorting

flux

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

advance rate

in the feed

recovered

is

heating

151
shale

that

value.

plotted against oxygen

flux.

1.0 the retorting advance rate is about 4 inches per


hour. The function shown in figure 5 is not linear, and the retorting ad
vance rate is only about half as large for a given oxygen flux, as is the

At

an oxygen

of

for the 150-ton retort.

case

s
J

/o
4

J=

0
CS

OJ

/o
LU
O

>
Q

ro

/o

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

OXYGEN

Figure 5.-Retorting

advance

rate

FLUX,

versus

lean

oil

1.2

1.0

scfm/sq ft

oxygen

shale.

flux for 10-ton

retort

tests

with

152

Quarterly
A

distribution

retorting in the 10-ton


the

and shale

Emphasis

void volume on oil

placed

was

recovery from

selectively blending various shale sizes,


to 32 percent for the first experiment of this

approximately 42

compared with

charge.

bed

effects of

By

retort.

void volume was reduced

series,

Mines

of

is underway designed to study the

series of experiments

particle-size

Colorado School

of the

on

gas

percent

flow

for

patterns

a normal mine-run
and pressure

drops

bed before ignition, and gas samples and pressure drop


measurements were taken in the bed
during the run. Radioactive tracer
techniques were used to study flow patterns, surface area, and free path
through the

Initial

volumes.

from this test indicate

results

drop

some pressure

radi

moving high-resistance zone, pre


sumably the retorting zone, passing downward through the bed. Large
differences in gas analysis between samples extracted from the central

bed,

ally through the

there is a

and

level
at the retort wall indicate some air bypasses the bed
by channeling down
the retort wall. Data on oil yield and oil properties are not complete for
axis of

this

the

experiment at

A few

have been
has little

experiments

using

a mixture of air and steam as

Preliminary
flow

stack gas

effect on

same vertical

this time.

planned.

the

creases

taken at the

retort and simultaneous samples

results show

the

rate and

heating

advance rate or

retorting

that addition of

maximum

gas

retorting

in

steam

bed temperature, but


value of

the

stack gas.

Changes in the operating conditions, retorting gas velocity, and com


position did not result in any significant changes in oil properties. Several
selected properties were averaged

the

averages are shown

duced in the 10-ton

in table 1.

by

retort

from higher

properties of oil

for

the

entire series of

the properties of oil

Comparing

processing the low

differences between the

retort and

those produced in many aboveground retorts.

inch

generally
or greater

the 10-ton

operated on charges

than 3/2 inches.


and oils

retort

pour point and

from the

in the higher

Operation
Construction

1971)

is

similar

fractory-lined
with an

of

at the

support

the 150-ton

to that

the

containing
major

of

The

other retorts

than &

oils produced

in API gravity

by

and

boiling distillate fractions.

150-Ton Batch Retort

retort

(Harak, Dockter,

the 10-ton retort.

45 feet high

top for loading

shale

differences in

lower

in the 10-ton

no shale smaller

other retorts are

percentage of

carbon steel shell

opening

bottom to

of

The

oils produced

with

difference.

grade materials reveals no major

there are

and
pro

blend

grade shale

However,
were

experiments,

by

The

and

Carpenter

retort vessel

is

a re

1VA feet in inside diameter

shale and a

bed. The flow diagrams

hinged
and

grate at the

the

methods of

Technology

153

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

for

E
D
D

r^.

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cy

CO

tf

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u
CO
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OJ
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a

CO

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cn

CO

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CU
4-1

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>

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r^

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CU
Cn

CU
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r0

ro

--

>s

CO

4-1

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cn
ro

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vO

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CO
CM

CM

CO

cu

CO
CM

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CU

m
i-J

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co

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154

Quarterly
the two

operation of

The 150-ton

has been

istics

Mines

of

ranging in

process oil shale

size

distribution

large

pieces as
of oil

for this

of charges

4-foot

as

grade

cubes.

shale, ranging in

For

up to

size

to study retorting character

charge

large single particles.

of

The operating

variables studied were again

Superficial

the retorting gas.

content of

to 2.85

piece

included in the

was

to

The

including

large

experiments one

10,000 pounds,

used

gallons per ton.

retort was mine-run shale


several

Colorado School

retorts are also similar.

retort

from 20.9 to 26.2

of the

standard cubic

oxygen content of the

feet

gas velocities ranged

foot

of gas per square

retorting

the velocity and oxygen

gas was varied

of

bed

from 0.83
The

per minute.

from 8 to 21

volume per

cent.

Maximum

oil

volume percent of

recovery from a series of 10 experiments was 65.8


Fischer assay. A correlation between oil recovery and

velocity and oxygen content is shown in figure 6. Also note


that oil recovery is influenced not only by rate, but by composition of the
retort gas (fig. 6).
gas

retorting

As

in figure

shown

linearly

7, retorting advance
flux. However, optimum

with oxygen

the

experiments occurred when

0.3

feet

standard cubic

advance rate of

This

4 inches

more rapid

25 to 30

charge

of experiments

hour

of

gal/ton used

series

experiment except

foot

from

probably
in the 150-ton

about

an oxygen

flux

0.15

of about

and

0.5.

oil

shale

to the

series

richer

retort compared

in the 10-ton

series of

bed. A retorting

of

from

to increase

for this

between

was

results

gal/ton

retort.

to study the effects

from the 150-ton

this

results

rate

series of experiments

on oil yield

ment

per

appears

oil yield

per minute per square

advance

using 15

flux

oxygen

rate

of average particle size

designed. In the first


duplicated those of an

retort was also

operating conditions
for average particle size20 inches

experi
earlier

as compared

to 6

15 large blocks weighing about 3,700


pounds each and measuring approximately 3 by 5 by 2 feet. Most of these
blocks were placed in the center third of the shale bed along with pieces
inches. The

that

were

shale

bed

shale charge contained

somewhat
contained

of

Fischer assay

of

62

smaller.

finer

material.

was realized

volume-percent

Only

for the

the lower

An

oil

and

recovery

for this experiment,


earlier experiment

upper
of

55

thirds

of

the

volume-percent

compared with a yield

using the

smaller average

particle-size charge.

The
same

as

properties of oil produced

in the 150-ton

the properties of oil produced

essentially the
in the 10-ton retort. The API
retort are

gravity of the oil produced in each of 10 experiments ranged from 22.0 to


26.4 degrees, pour points ranged from 50 to 70 F, sulfur content from 0.76

Technology

for

155

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

ro

>

'A1I0013A

Wbs/iups

tf>

">
:

CM

SV9 !VIDIdcJ3dnS
P

cvj

cm

to

y^

//////
/ X / / /

4->

CM

v>

bo
>
X
o

en

f /

*
l

III
III

"*

f l/l

<
CM

l III

II

kh

II

n/\

In \ 1

f V
In K

IM

1/ \ /
Hi/
-

IO

2
CM

\\
\ \

\\ \

W\

\
\ \

\ \\

UJ

o
^

"
**

\\\

o>

k
\\

\R

z
o

>

\ V

**

1
^

z
UJ

il

\
\

\\l

cn

I V \l
\\

Is-

cn

**-

^*N

/
|

V Vi

/>

IO

Is-*

\\

bo
C

s;

bo

~~~

O
-?-

/
l

l/l / \

k.

o>

CM

-2

or

o
r

X.

^*

*-

II

^x
X

LU
cr

CM

OC

>v

bo

CO
ro

2
"o
cc

&

&

CO

J3
o
cu
cn

W
CD

ooo
CNi ro cm

to

p:

W
a

io

o
o

o
o

r*-

CO

io

Adssd jaqsjj

o
^-

jo juaojad

awn|0A

o
ro

'Ad3A033d 110

CM

o
o

Quarterly

156

5.0

*.

Colorado School

of the

1
A

Test

All

Mines

of

c)

R-ll
tests

other

'

4.0

;J=

Rate

-0.529

+8.86(oxygen

flux)

LU
r

R2 =
=

0.98

3.0

LU
CJ
z

Standard

estimate

error of

0.19

So

<t

>
o
<t

o
z

2.0

os
S

p
cr

o
r

LU

1.0

o9r

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.J>

FLUX,

scfm/sq ft

0.1

OXYGEN

Figure

7.

Retorting

to 1.19 weight-percent,

rate

advance

and

the

versus

oxygen

nitrogen content

0.6

flux for 150-ton

retort.

from 1.44 to 1.94

weight-

percent.

Operation

of a

Both the 10-ton


slightly

pounds per square

information

of

these

on

and

an electric

pressure closure at

differential

of

a maximum pressure of

oil

from

of water.
shale

5
to

the

top

To

obtain

under

1,500 psig,

only

exceed

never

pressures

few inches

characteristics

retort

is

a standard reaction vessel

Tk inches in internal diameter.


in

pressures

different

a small high-

designed.

The high-pressure

enclosed

total

retorts are at most a

up to

pressure retort was

retort are operated at pressures

Operating

inch gauge,

the retorting

system pressures

and

the 150-ton

atmospheric.

above

the bottom

and

Small High-Pressure Batch Retort

the

As

furnace to supply

top

that is

used

shown

in figure

external

to

32 inches

8,

the

heat. It has

charge raw shale

long

retort

is

a standard

to the

retort

Technology

for

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

157

V*

\
F

Figure

8. High-pressure oil
shale retort.

158
and

Quarterly
to

discharge

of the

spent shale at

Colorado School
the

Mines

end of each experiment.

from the bottom

gaseous products are withdrawn

of

of

the

Liquid

vessel

and

through

&-inch, high-pressure tubing.


In tests to
pounds,

and

date,

had

the

oil shale charge

potential

charges were screened

for

of

content

oil

each experiment weighed

to include particles

31.1

gallons

between %

and

per

ton.

4.9

The

% inch.

in figure 9. A small, circulating


gas compressor is used to force retorting gas into the top of the vessel.
Electric heaters are used to heat the charge. Liquid and gaseous products

A flow diagram

together

of

this

retort

is

shown

retorting gas flow downward through the shale bed


the reaction vessel into a high-pressure phase separator. Gaseous

with excess

and out of

1
High

Gaseous
product

pressure
retort

Inlet
flowmeter

Outlet

flowmeter
Back
pressure

Gas from
shipping cylinders

regulator

"7

Gas

compressor

Packed
column

Phase
separator

Liquid

product

Liquid
product

Figure

9. Flow

diagram

of

high-pressure

retort.

Technology

159

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

for

retorting gas then flow through a packed column to


the last traces of liquid and through a back-pressure regulator.

products and

gases are

The

heating

effects of

and

rate,

rate, total

to the

and vented

being

gas

has been

pressure, retorting gas flow

system

14 to 136 F

This study included

completed.

hour,

per

from

pressures

from 0.0133 to 2.245

feet

of products
as

retorting

ranging from
to 1,500 psig, and flow

heating

atmospheric

standard cubic

These

atmosphere.

retorting gas composition on the yield and quality


investigated. A series of experiments using nitrogen

are

rates

for analysis,

sampled

metered,

remove

rates

foot

per square

bed

per

shows

the

pressure,

oil

of

minute.

Preliminary

analysis

interaction between

increases

yield

decreases

at

increasing

with

torting

have

retort was

this study is

shown

and

36 inches

ing

and

high,

unloading

mounted above

gland on

the

the

between

the

allow

in figure 10.
was

heaters
a

plate and

first
/s

outside of

temperature

46.7

and a

the

rise of

retorting,

schematic of

The

of re

for

finned

convenience

heater

shale

packing

steel ram was

was

was

in the

at

space

drilled, tapped,

liquid

and also

to

bed.

retort was equipped with six

from

cylinder

was mounted

allow removal of gas and

load

during

extending through

thick, close-fitting

gas

in

used

10 inches in diameter

A high-pressure hydraulic
the piston

permeability

the equipment

body,

retort

be inserted into the

equally

spaced

ring

temperature controllers programmed to give

hour.

per

in this study

gallons of oil per ton as

to

functions

a simulated overburden

flange. The bottom flange

125 F

oil shale used

crushed

3-inch-

fittings to
the

and

decreases

oil yield

oil properties as

at each end

with

retort

which operated

The

flanged

operations.

thermocouples to

The

during

oil shale

top flange. A

and equipped with

flow rates,

heating rates

been determined.

and operated.

tached to the piston,

higher

effects of overburden pressure on the

broken

designed

constant

Simulated-Overburden Retort

of a

To determine the

constant

Variations in

not yet

Operation

of a column of

At

heating rates.

the

rate at

experiments

At

complex.

increase in flow

pressure.

variables

be

to

variables

with an

lower

data from these

the

of

determined

less than 1 inch

three grades-20.6,

was of

by

Fischer

and screened

to

assay.

remove

The

fines

31.4,

and

shale was

of

less than

inch.

To

conduct a run

gen was

the

the

filled

retort was

introduced through the

desired

sealed,

a constant

of nitro

flow controller, and


to the bed by the hydraulic

top flange from

overburden pressure was applied

flow

160

Quarterly

6-in

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

wide-flange

supporting
structure

Recording
barometer

Water
Pressure

manometer

controller

Mercury filled

Gas heater

100-in.

manometer

Programmable
temperature
controllers

for ring
heaters

N2

Oil

inlet

reservoir

Drain

10. Simulated overburden retort.

Figure

cylinder.

After the

system

had

come

the

bed,

the temperature controls

further

compression of

to

the run.

start

the

Gas

pressure

difference between
Each

shale

differential

was

few

the

apparent

millidarcys or until

injection

three grades

the shale

of

the

response of

corrections were made

for

gas temperature change

to the

used

bed

to

by

no

turned

on

calculating

pressure.
of

which would

have

the oil

affected gas

shale

density,

the

bed had been

the

oil

at

data collected,
plotted for the

permeability versus temperature were


shale used in the study.
The term "apparent

describe

is

No

of oil

by

permeability

retorting temperature for several hours.


In order to make a preliminary evaluation
curves of apparent

were

determined

atmospheric pressure and

run was continued until

bed dropped to

to equilibrium, as indicated

bed to

gas

perme

injection.

from injection

viscosity,

point

and volume.

Technology

The

values as used were

wellhead on a

The

for

161

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

the type of

data that

be

could

measured at

field test site.

changes

in permeability as the 20.6-gal/ton


temperature to retorting temperature

from

about room

lated

overburden pressures are shown

shale
at

heated

was

different

simu

in figure 11. At lower temperatures,

differences in permeability are not influenced to any great extent by dif


ferences in pressure. For all pressures tested, permeability gradually de
creased until a break point occurred at about 700 F.
Figure 12 is similar to figure 11, but the behavior of a 46.7-gal/ton
is

oil shale under simulated overburden pressure

peratures, the effects of

would

pressure, the
are

be

expected when

height

the

of

increased. This loss

The

more rapid and the

effects of

of

heating

a packed

bed decreases

as

height influences

heating

under pressure

At lower tem

for the

pressure are more pronounced

The decrease in permeability is


a lower temperature.
As

shown.

rich shale.

breakpoint

bed

occurs at

of oil shale under

the temperature and

pressure

void volume and permeability.

for

an extended period of

time

found in figure 13. As time increases, the permeability rapidly de


creases to a minimum value, and then begins, at about 18 hours in this
are

to

instance,

improve, probably

1,000

as a result of removal of organic material.

5;:=3^^

100

O00 psi

^'^-rr.
'

*""'

s^

*"**.

''j 600psi

?-

\x-900p$i

Ul

UJ
-

10

1 '

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

900

TEMPERATURE, F

Figure

11

Permeability

change with

temperature

for 20.6

gal /ton oil shale.

Quarterly

162

1,000

of the

Colorado School

Mines

of

rr

100

10

.01

300

200

100

800

700

600

500

400

TEMPERATURE, F

12.

Figure

Figure 14 is

figure 15

by

the

the

deposition, but

The

in this

case

previously

the pyrolysis of

temperature

for

The

oil shale after retorting.


of

carbon, but the

effects of

retorting

has been

under pressure

on rich oil

blackened

compressed

into

by

carbon

a solid mass.

Mathematical Retorting Model

published

kerogen into

shale

particles are not altered

particles are

they have been

of a

rich oil shale.

typical charge to this retort, and in

in figure 16. Again the

Development

Using

lean

deposition

to any great extent.


shale are shown

change with

a photograph of a

we show

blackened

Permeability

data (Hubbard

oil and

gas,

and

bitumen,

Robinson

1950)

on

and carbon residue, a

Technology

Mil 1 1

i" III 1 1

for

163

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

INN 1 1

|llll Mill

<>
OJ

<3-

oj

OJ

OJ

ao

<0

CO

vt

^r

UJ

2
OJ

bo

o
vt

IB

ol

a
ro

ao

PL.
co

to

l-t

fe

//

1LLI 1 1
c>
c>
c>

I,

i, mi

5T

OJ

i I

O
o

Inn

sAojdp

'Aini8V3Wd3d

Ill 1

1 1

~~

ci

164

Quarterly

of the

Figure

Figure

Colorado School

of

Mines

14.Raw oil shale charge.

15. 20.6 gal/ton oil shale retorted at

600

psi.

Technology

Figure 16.-46.7

gal/ton oil shale retorted at

model which generates a good

This

model

first-order

is based

on a

reactions and

summarized

165

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

for

fit to the

thermal

three

600

data

experimental

decomposition

system

second-order reactions.

psi.

was

devised.

consisting of two
The reactions are

in table 2.

Table

2 Thermal

decomposition of kerogen

Kerogen

->

Bitumen

Bitumen

->

Oil

Kerogen + bitumen

->

Bitumen + bitumen

Kerogen + bitumen

->

Oil

Kerogen + bitumen

*5

and

and

> Carbon

gas

gas

+ bitumen

residue

+ bitumen

Quarterly

166
The
to the

Colorado School

of the

temperature

upon

according

relation

In k

where

T is the

Using

least

b/T,

temperature and a and

absolute

the

squares procedure on

constants were calculated

table

dependent

reaction rate constants are

Mines

of

are empirical constants.

data,

experimental

for this decomposition

reaction rate

system and are shown

in

3.

Table

3 Values

of

specific rate constants

for thermal decomposition

of kerogen
Specific

Temperature

k4i/

kcl/
5'

0.064

0.490

0.211

0.198

0.004

0.175

1.400

0.400

0.390

0.008

0.389

0.820

0.880

425

698

0.003

450

723

475

748

In general, k^
for a

constant

have

will

--v.

term

is

for

and

as

For

term.

reaction

are

all

this

fraction,

k5,

the

represents

second-order

expressed

k3, k4,

concentration

generally
because the concentration term
concentration

500

For

reaction.

include

(time"1) only if ki

units

first-order
will

units

for the

(min"-1-)

constants

k3l/

T7

rate

ki

the

units

Data

modified

to

account

for

production of

carbon residue
-

\Kerogen

"

'

Oil

and gas

'

^\Bitumen

^s^

Carbon

residue on shale
-

*^

16

32

TIME,

Figure

__i

24

40

48

min

17. Curves generated

by

model at

425 C.

the

work,

unity.

rate

i
56

Technology
Concentration
in table

stants

by

suggested

3,

Allred

support

for this system, using

curves generated

in figure 17.

are shown

(1966),

to Allred's

is

shown

conjecture

kerogen may be dependent

The

for

upon

the amount

the rate

con

modified as

in figure 18.

This

the curves and

character of

that the

167

data,

original

comparison

similarity in the

comparison reveals a general

lends

In Situ Oil Shale Processes

for

decomposition
bitumen present.

rate

of

of

of

SUMMARY

Assuming
created

in

The
gas

an oil shale

yield of

liquid

Depending

injection

1,0

in

area

retorting to proceed,

situ

distribution

upon size

Retorting

optimize yield.

with oxygen

gas pressure

^N.

is influenced

product

flux, but
In

maximum advance rate.

creasing

allow

surface

by

a number of

and oil shale

rates and oxygen concentrations can

to

wide ranges

linearly

bed to

and

have been

laboratory

indicates the following:

research

factors.

that sufficient permeability

'

'

'

inert retorting

an

does

increase

fairly

almost

not occur at

atmosphere

(nitrogen),

the

in

oil yield.

Data

grade, retorting

adjusted over

advance rates

maximum oil yield

decreases

be

interacting

modified

to

II

account

for

production of

carbon residue

.8

CO

UJ
o

\Kerogen

=3

Oi 1

and

gas
-

.6

CO

u.

o
CO

2
?-

or

-*

r-

Z
CJ

NJIitumen

z
o
CJ

N.

Carbon

on

residue

shale

.2

rf^T

Xi

32

TIME,

Figure 18.-Experimental data

24

16

of

40

48

56

min

Hubbard

and

Robinson

( 1950)

at

425C.

168

Quarterly
The quality

variables

quality

of oil

from many
150-ton

by

produced

liquid

in these

used

the 10- and

of

of the

in

situ

The

are

aboveground retorts

Based

retorting
oil

of

by

Mines
in operating
differences in the

changes

obvious

from the quality

from

of oil

these results, it appears that oils

on

have relatively lower pour


higher percentage of lower boiling

of oil shale will

and

produced

overburden pressures

in

in

most

the products

sulfur and nitrogen content of

High

not affected

There

studies.

retorts.

than

is

product

points, higher API gravities,

distillate fractions

Colorado School

tall

vertical

aboveground

equipment.

be

the same.

will

about

chimney

retort will result

in decreases in permeability of the broken oil shale as temperatures are


increased. These changes are more pronounced for richer oil shales; how
as

ever,

retorting continues,

some

small

increase in permeability may

occur.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The
tive

work upon which

agreement

Interior,

between

the

and

this

the

University

report

Bureau
of

is based
of

was

done

under a coopera

Mines, U.S. Department

the

of

Wyoming.

REFERENCES
Allred,

V.

D., 1966, Kinetics

55-60.
Burwell, E. L.,

of oil shale pyrolysis:

T.

Chem. Eng.

Prog.,

E., and Carpenter, H. C, 1970, Shale


Tech., p. 1520-1524, Dec.
Burwell, E. L., Tihen, S. S., and Sohns, H. W., 1974, Permeability
Sterner,

situ retorting:

paction of

16

oil

v.

62,

no.

recovery

8,

p.

by

in

Jour. Pet.

broken

oil shale

during

retorting:

changes and com

U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 7860,

p.

Campbell, G. G., Scott, W. G., and Miller, J. S., 1970, Evaluation of oil-shale fractur
ing tests near Rock Springs, Wyo.: U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 7397, 21 p.
Carpenter, H. C, 1972, Engineering aspects of processing oil shale by in situ retorting:
Presented, 71st Natl. Mtg., Am. Inst. Chem. Engineers, Dallas, Tex., Feb.
Carpenter, H. C, Tihen, S. S., and Sohns, H. W., 1968, Retorting ungraded oil shale
as related to in situ processing:
Preprints, Div. Petroleum, Am. Chem. Soc, v.
Apr.
p.
no.
F50-F57,
13,
2,
Dockter, Leroy, Harak, A. E., and Sohns, H. W., 1972, Retorting random-sized lean
in

batch-type

engineering analysis: Presented, 64th Ann.


New
York, Nov.
Engineers,
Mtg.,
J.
and
D.
Carpenter, H. C, 1974, Second-order effects in the
H.,
W., George,
Fausett,
kinetics of oil shale pyrolysis: U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 7889, 21 p.
Gavin, M. J., 1922, Oil shale: an historical, technical and economic study: U.S. Bur.
Mines Bull. 210, p. 10-26.
Gavin, J. J., and Desmond, J. S., 1930, Construction and operation of the Bureau of
Mines Experimental oil shale plant, 1925-27: U.S. Bur. Mines Bull. 315, 154 p.
oil shale

retort

an

Am. Inst. Chem.

Harak, A. E., Dockter, Leroy,


operation of a

150-ton

and

Carpenter, H. C, 1971, Some results from


U.S. Bur. Mines TPR 30, 14 p.

oil shale retort:

the

Technology
Hubbard,

A.

B.,

for

Robinson, W. E., 1950, A thermal decomposition study


U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 4744, 24 p.

and

rado oil shale:

169

In Situ Oil Shale Processes


of

Colo

Matzick, Arthur, Dannenberg, R. O., Ruark, J. R., Phillips, J. E., Lankford, J. D.,
and Guthrie, B., 1966, Development of the Bureau of Mines gas-combustion oil
shale

retorting

process:

U.S. Bur. Mines Bull. 635, 199

p.

COLONY DEVELOPMENT OPERATION


ROOM-AND-PILLAR OIL SHALE MINING
Paul W. Marshall

INTRODUCTION
Development Operation is

Colony
ing

four

of

venture currently consist


The Oil Shale Corporation (TOSCO), At

active members:

lantic Richfield

Company (A.R.Co.),

Company. Atlantic Richfield is


two companies, Ashland
struction costs and

have

joint

and

Ashland

Shell,

Oil, Inc.,

the oil

operator of

shale

pay 25

each

and

Shell Oil

project; the latter

percent of

the

precon

to join in construction

of

land in the Piceance Basin

of

expressed a willingness

a plant.

Colony s

Colorado (fig. 1).

western

some

200

the

Basin

miles west of

Colorado. This

western

of

semiworks plant

world's

is

on private

Parachute

Denver in

Creek,

alone contains some

the pilot project, is

a semiarid unpopulated area of north

area encompasses

largest known

site of

the Green River

reserves of oil

80 billion barrels

formation,

site

Colorado's Piceance

shale.
of shale

recoverable

oil,

by

modern methods.

In
like"

to

a recent press

begin

release, the

mits

to

informed that

Colony "would

construction of a commercial oil shale plant

1974. The time between this


productively

public was

used

to obtain

the

press release and

about

35

governmental

fall

of

in the fall

1974

must

regulatory agency

of

be

per

construct and operate a commercial plant.

COMMERCIAL OPERATION DESCRIPTION

The

commercial plant will consist of

ing facilities,
revegetating.

four basic

areas:

mining,

crush

processing facilities, and processed shale embanking and


The total employment will be about 950 people, including

hourly personnel.
like to begin by describing,

salaried and

I'd

Mining Engineer,

Atlantic Richfield

in

general

terms, the

Company, Grand Valley, Colo.

171

operation of a

172

Quarterly

Figure

1. The

of the

Colony

Colorado School

Development

operations

of

Mines

in the Piceance Basin.

Colony Development Operation


commercial

mining the
ventional

Fork

of

facility.

shale

in

shale

The first step in this

operation

involves

an underground room-and-pillar mine.

This is a con
Colony's
mining
mining adit will be on the Middle
Parachute Creek Canyon at an elevation of about 7,100 feet

(fig. 2).
scaling

oil

173

system.

The mining

and roof

cycle of

bolting

drilling, blasting, loading

will produce about

66,000 tons

and

hauling,

of oil shale each

f&a'M

m:;.it'**y
%

A^

LI

;tfk>i4

-6

******

^rtjrtrrf
^tjetrrf

>,

I protective

MIDDLE

benches

FORK

Figure

OP

2 mine

aoits (61

PARACHUTE CREEK

3 primary

8 MINE

crusher

BENCH

change house

ROAD

2.Mine Bench Middle

Fork Canyon.

parking

6 Culvert

174

Quarterly

day.

This

production

rate

in detail

The

the

after

in the

feet

the

To
using

oil shale

raw oil shale will

complete.
no

be

plant will

in

and ranges

larger than 10-inch

by

or slope and

being fine

be fed to the

to the mining

covered conveyor

on

the

plateau

from 7,400

elevation

crushed

retort

for

to

for

added.

The

After 20

years of

depleted. Processed
this 4,500 acres.

pyrolysis.

operation,

4,500

genation unit

that

to

be

can

liquefied

petroleum

upgraded

to

An

in the

tract

after

of oil shale

being

demonstrate

routed

the

the

through an on-site

crude and reduces

extremely high-grade

sulfur-free

Progress

pilot mine and semiworks plant

realistic.

ward evaluation

in

to

designing

Colony's
indication

of

1972

and

Since that time,


of

data

the

hydro

sulfur and

fuel

can

oil or

product

Date

engineering test

commercialization

Colony

collected

and

efforts

during

of

programs were
oil

shale

was

have been directed to

the semiworks operations,

a commercial plant.

objective

the

of

of

processing

into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, fuel oil,


With a minimum of processing, the crude

produce an

in the fall

area.

feasibility

high quality feedstock for synthetic natural gas production. The


can be transported from the complex by pipeline.

completed

acres

processed

gas.

be

will

800

native wildlife of

The

pro

revegetated with native

overall view of oil shale

hydrogen to the

adds

cooled when

emplaced over some

to sustaining the

shale.

product,

nitrogen,

acre

have been

conducted extensive studies

recovered

is

spread and compacted

have been completely

will

revegetating this processed


is shown in figure 5.

The

spent shale

(fig. 4).

shrubs and grasses amenable

Colony has

is then

shale will

It

The

another run.

material

cessed shale embankment

and

larger

no

spent shale and reheated

deemed

or

retorting drum to accomplish the necessary heat


The balls are then separated from the
retorting.

fed into

transfer to complete

be

is

under

for the retorting process, the crushed shale is preheated,


would otherwise be waste heat.
Hot ceramic balls the size of

marbles are

of

beds

will return

to

largest

the

mine

prepare

what

H20 is

incline

level (fig. 3). After

above sea

than M-inch size, the

an

Mines

of

crushed

The processing

to the processing plant.


to 8,200

be

then

mined oil shale will

mesa which overlays

world.

overview sketch

transported through

size and

Colony's

make

will

ground room-and-pillar mine


operation

Colorado School

of the

is to

degree

develop

a commercial oil shale plant.

of seriousness about

As

this project, the company

an

at

Colony Development Operation

175

cr

0
UJ

z
li.
U5
t-

ui

f
D

If)

if)
l/>

>

0
IT
>

/
<
m

h
7
UJ

5
I

U)

<
I)

0
V
w

>

Ul
y

<

Ul

UJ

_i

<
I
Ul

O
<
Ct

3
Cy

Q
UJ

in

m
UJ

<

(J

in

a.
a.

<?

UJ

0
<
it

0
t-

Ul
Q
UJ

in

UJ

UJ
Ul

0
UJ

in

tr
<

0
u

>

be
C

<
I

Ifl
ct

I
-I

Ul
UJ

ho
3

"O

U
0

It

fcC

U-

rt

"43

u
D

<

PC

Ul

U>

CO

<n

t-

UJ

u
<

I
z
D

(-

<
_l

a.
<\j

tt

n
>-

UJ

>

<

or

a
U.

3
CD

h
7
1

19

7-

III

0
UJ
in

rr
<

0
u

'

&/.
r

-:::--

'

-:r

: : V--.
'

-'

CD

a.

<

I
Ul
_)

Ct

I)
-1

<

7
II

u
X

Quarterly

176

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

13
*
UJ
UJ
rr

u
/

ui

UJ

CD
UJ

u
J
<
Z
u.

0
H
_l

UJ

Z
z
D
h

0
ct

II

.^,

ct

itf#

>

UJ
>

o
u
UJ
ct

O
UJ
in

ct
<

CL

O
U

u,

o>

y
2
CQ

z
=>

i3

o
u

R
Q

<
Ct

X
OJ

13

"a

CL

C3

^5

cr

o
I
CM
w

g
o

l-l

fe

oo

ii

177

Colony Development Operation

OA3ANOO 31VHS

Q3SS3DOad

bfi

o
U

ft
rt
,J3

x ;

8
IO
13nd

ox SVD

p
o

fe

c/>
r-

o
D
Q

^
ri

<^

DC
0.

178

Quarterly

present

ning,

is spending

of the

dollars

over a million

detailed engineering,
in proceeding

aspects

Colorado School

project

have been

Management

obtain permits

for

pipeline

covers a

right-of-way

This

Parachute Creek to

on upper

Environmental

the processing

an

existing

and

application

from the

route

Land

of

facilities

permit

pipeline

studied, 192-mile pipeline

thoroughly

plant site

for

other

many

to the Bureau

submitted

permit.

the

and

work,

plan

engineering

this magnitude.

of

Impact Analyses

(EIA)
(BLM) to

a month on

environmental

with

Mines

of

pipeline

proposed

Lisbon,

at

Utah.

COMMERCIAL MINING

The mining system to be employed by Colony in their


venture is the same system used in the mining of other types

tary deposits
associated

large,

that

with

are

flat

lying

employing the

stable openings can

equipment

is

comparison

may be

similar

Access to the

be

to that

have very little dip.

or

room-and-pillar

diesel

mined with
used

in large

mining

of sedimen

An

advantage

is that

system

The

equipment.

open-pit

commercial

mines,

mobile

although

this

an oversimplification.

mine will

Middle Fork Canyon

of

be from

bench

a portal

Parachute Creek

the level

at

constructed

the

of

in the

Mahogany

Zone outcrop (fig. 1). The bench will be about 250 by 750 ft of flat
ground or about 4.5 acres plus an additional 1.5 acres of sloping fill.
Limited parking, changehouse,
service

equipment
crusher

dump

crusher will

be

stations,

point will
on

the

be

canyon

mine

mine

on

and

water

electrical

the

portal

substation,

bench

floor below the

fuel supply, haulage

portal

and

surface.

bench

primary
The primary

and surrounded

by portal bench fill material.


Entry
adits, three
ways will

for

into the

from the bench

on each side of

be

men and

shale,

mine

widened

to 50

the canyon.

ft inside

will

These

the mine.

machinery to the working area,

and ventilation air openings.

be through

will

30

openings or main

The

routes

Approximately

lation openings, including the six adits,


cliff faces across the Colony property.

six

be

by

30 ft

haulage-

adits provide entrance

for

removal of mined

ten 50

by

30 ft

at various sites

venti

along the

The 60-ft thick, rich oil shale horizons will be mined with two
benches or stages (fig. 6). Of the 20-year reserves at present held in the
privately
about 35

owned

gallons

Dow West property, the grade of this 60 feet averages


per ton (42 U.S. gallons is equivalent to one barrel).

Colony Development Operation

179

bo
.3

CJ

C
cu

ft
i

o
o

I
CD

180

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

Mines

of

Upper Bench Mining

The
bench

upper

be

will

30 feet

and about

deep

bench, wedge-cut
nonelectric blasting cap, and

Each

upper

The broken

loaders

haul to the primary


machine

the

next

blast,

but did

bolting

&-inch diameter

of

the

will

mine

mine

the

bench

be

be

of

roof.

bolt

whereas all

holes,

with straight

dynamite

and

size range.

yard,

front-end

The trucks

will

hydraulic backhoe

This rig mechanically

rig.

that

floor. This rig is

by

was shattered

capable of

scaling

opening.

cycle.

mining

The

roof control.

Steel

roof

Mahogany

bolts

marker,

of
a

feet
This layer is more difficult to drill through for
bolts. A rotary percussion drill was used for drilling

of

roof

for

used

cubic

remove rock

the

a part of

tuffaceous

installation

the

upper

boom jumbo.

ANFO.

involves

scaling

fall to the

than 60

not more

twin

Upper

bench.

cycle

face to

by

10 to 15

by

portal

mechanical

ribs and

will

6-inch thick layer


above

to a

not

beyond the height

the

high,

primed with

charged with

the mining

of

the

rock on

Roof

then

crusher on

step

converted

the

scales

be

round will

30-unit truck fleet in the 80-ton

onto a

The

30 feet

of

be drilled

will

be loaded

will

rock

before the lower bench.

mined

dimensions

rounds with nominal

feet wide,
a

bench

the

oil

other

marlstone, is about 5

or

shale

in the

drilling

mine was

accomplished

rotary drills.

Lower Bench Mining

The lower bench


the

same

lower bench
inal 30-foot

will

feet high

and

the

mined after

be employed,

will

be drilled

deep holes

Hence,

tern.

cycle

mining

be

will

with

with a standard

be drilled in

will

bench. Essentially
few alterations. The

upper

quarry track drill. The

widely

used

quarry

nom

round pat

final opening size will be a nominal maximum of 60


60 feet wide after each lower bench round is blasted.

the

"downholes"

be slightly simplified because the


are more easily or gravity loaded. The lower bench
charging rigs, when
final selection is made, may employ auger ANFO loading rather than
The charging

pneumatic

task

loading

holes. The bottoms

will

which

of

is

these

a waterproof explosive gel

The lower bench


upper

A 10

bench
percent

access and

will

operations

necessitated

holes

is

by

the horizontal

bench

wet, and, in these cases,


in the bottom.

are sometimes

used

employ the same loading


15 cu yd front-end loader

grade, 300-foot

upper

long

ramp

will

facilitate the lower bench load-haul

be

equipment as
and

80-ton trucks.

constructed

operation.

the

to

provide

Colony Development Operation

rig.
will

half

181

Lower bench scaling will be completed by the upper bench


scaling
It is anticipated that only the bottom half of each 60-ft high pillar
need
scaling during lower bench operations. Rescaling of the upper
of each pillar

The

is

be

expected to

minimal.

is bolted

during upper bench mining and is therefore de


leted from the lower bench mining cycle. This is one more factor which
makes lower bench unit costs less than upper bench unit costs.
roof

ROCK MECHANICS

The two-bench

described
design
the

studies

in

of pillars

tory tests,

room-and-pillar

extensively tested in the

was

analytical

and

two-stage

or

Colony

pilot mine.

Experimental

bedded formation. Elastic theory, labora

a competent

to obtain

and extensive underground measurements were used

failure, loading

mode of

just

system

information for the

to obtain

conducted

were

mining

conditions,

stress

distributions,

and strength

of oil shale pillars.

Subsidence
The
will

room-and-pillar

involve the

extraction of

for the Dow property


at high rates and leave

operations planned

mining

large tonnages

of ore

very large void spaces deep underground. Because of these factors


the jointed nature of oil shale, Colony conducted an extensive rock
chanics program

commercial

if

necessary.

is little information
ties

(i.e.,

creep)

rock progresses

mine

expansion,

available on

to

phases of

oil

to failure

shale,

creep to

under

available on

failure in

is

the

of

a given

during

continuously
in the

to

the mine, there

deformation
process

smaller magnitude

mines are subject

rock

of

deformation

relative stress

the

and mine

the mine

and

me

and adjustments made

a slow

a stress

All

which causes

of

gathered

the time-dependent

Creep

short-term compressive strength.

regard

dimensions,

stability

be

will

pillar

As for the long-term stability

of oil shale.

is little information

spans,

structural

Stress data

operations.

throughout the

mine plan

roof

necessary for achieving

orientation

analyzed

to determine the

and

to creep,

proper

whereby
than the

and

values, particularly

progress

finite time.

through the

Laboratory

there
with

various

tests

of oil

have indicated that creep rates at the expected mining


stress levels will be very small. The complete loading mechanism cannot
be well simulated in the laboratory because of the difficulty in accounting
shale

samples

for jointing.
mine at

Anvil

Information

from

Points, Colorado,

the U.S. Bureau of


shows

that pillars

Mines

have been

experimental

able

to

stand

182

for

Quarterly

approximately 20

a period of

The

Colorado School

of the

years

Mines

of

major

without

failure

problems.

creep was considered in the design of the proposed Colony


mine. It is known that properly designed oil shale pillars are

effect of

commercial

substantially more competent than pillars of other materials such as coal.


Rock mechanics data, a measure of long-term creep of oil shale, are
still
being gathered in the Colony pilot mine. The present commercial
mine

design is

conservative.

As

design

be

commercial mine

the

will

resource as practical.

increase the

will

more

data
in

altered

and experience are

to

an effort

An increase in the

gained, the

recover as much of

extraction

of

ratio,

course,

potential of surface subsidence.

Roof Falls
Roof falls

be

can

expected

to

lying formations,

improper

bances,

and stress

concentrations.

studied

by Colony

tion

the

on

failures in the
type mine,

in

failure,

strength,

of

the

experienced

in the

occur

rected

Valuable design informa

possible

by

this information

has

confident

Based
that

worst geologic conditions.

potential roof

instrumentation.
The

falls

can

Monitoring

hazards to

potential

all pilot oil shale

be

activities can

with

pillars

to

having

an average grade of about

The

failure. Roof falls

design

roof

likely
be di

cannot

falls do

be

develop

not

to substantially

used

mine would

35

the

final

reduce

commercial mine

Approximately 60
the

the overlying rock.

West property,
property is about 20

extracted

mine personnel.

be extracted,

support

proto

and some will

mines,

pillar

anticipated and monitored with proper

sign and associated extraction ratio.


can

the

be

stress

into the

gone

oil shale can

Because

rock mechanics program yielded

place shale

certain

on studies of

commercial mine since a realistic mine

to the

abruptly,

in

has been

prototype mine

deformations, load transfers,


made

over

distur

seismic

operation,

years.

commercial mine.

is reasonably

and

due to incompetent

commercial quantities without significant structural

have been

ed.

of

mines

Colony

was

All

prototype mine.

Colony

The

blast damage

and

design

structural

design

mine

for approximately 9

mode of

concentrations,

in

occur

remainder

percent of

being

A 60-ft-thick

gallons of oil per

left in

the

will

in-

place as

section of oil

ton,

de

be

shale,

extract

ultimately traverse essentially all of the Colony Dow


4,500 acres. The economic life of the Dow West

or about

There
were

are

intensely

years.

three reasonably
studied

at

the

pilot

mechanics program which yielded

been described.

mining engineering areas that


mine.
The detailed, thorough rock

common

the commercial mine

design has already

Colony Development Operation


The

The large

studied.

tions

presented somewhat

The third
will

be

handled,

design

unique

in

commercial

dust

fumes that
Very little data existed
United States had never
the

was that of

study

a commercial oil shale mine.

dust. Many of the dust experts in the


dust samples, let alone processed shale dust
laboratories.

seen oil shale

The

(1)

program objectives were

Which

on

and

samples

following

the

eight questions:

respirable, does

and

through

each

seg

the mining operation produce?


operations produce

federal health

and

(3)

based

What dust concentrations, total


ment of

(2)

mine,

problems.

on oil shale

their

extensively

as well as concentra

faces in

the working

at

area of extensive

generated

commercial mine was also

openings and tonnages

diesel horsepower

of

large

ventilation of such a

183

What techniques

and

dust

safety

in

concentrations

excess of state

standards?

are practical

for reducing

dust

excessive

con

centrations?

(4)

What is the settling rate for mine dust?


dust emissions from a commercial mine. )

(5)

How

total

much

dust

emission would

be

(This

total

will affect

generated

by

a mine of

commercial size?

(6)

What is the

nature

how

they be

and

(7)

What is the

the

blast

required

statistical

analysis

free

were used

during

re-enter

the study.

statistically analyzed.
principles, were used to eliminate or

The final

program also

the

may safely

chemical composition and size consist of mine

of a commercial mine where

such as

men

a computer and

able sample values.

The

before

how

and

area?

Four different dust instruments


in

fumes,

exhaust

blasting fumes,

nature and concentration of

What is the

were placed

diesel

controlled?

dispersal time is

much

(8)

can

and concentration of

results

dust

were used

to

dust?
Data

Rules, based
retain

on

question

determine the

areas

problems might exist.

delved into

other

silica content of oil shale

dust

and

fume

related

questions,

dust.

Full Seam Mining

In closing, I
pleted

before

want

pilot

to

mine

mention

that one of the

operations

purpose of this
mining program. The
60-ft thick mining horizon could be

were

cut

back

program was

mined

in

last test
to

was

projects com

the

full

determine if

one stage

instead

seam

the

full

of

two

184

Quarterly

stages or

benches
which

equipment,

lower

had

be

aligned

top holes

were

angles and

geologic

is worthy

full

on

seam

The

face. The jumbo drill booms had

bolting

rig

a slant

up toward the

that

cage with a

they bottomed

The full

seam

upper

Brunton
roof

were

The

at predetermined

few feet from

rounds

compass.

the pilot mine

employed

to

mine

seam pillar.

method of

of

so

parting.

high full

Mines

of

bench mining
30-foot high face height, was

overall unit costs.

roof

drilled

distances

roof

around one

This

from the

Colorado School

always operated at a

to mine the 60-foot

used

to

at

of the

full

seam

mining does have

further investigation.

certain advantages and

OIL SHALE:

A ROADBLOCK AND A SOLUTION

Clifton W. Livingston

INTRODUCTION
Piceance Basin is

only for its oil shale, but also for the


which it is associated and the natural gas

valuable not

sodium-aluminum minerals with

locked up in tight formations below the oil shale. The Basin may be
divided into a White River drainage portion to the north and a Colorado
River drainage

portion

to the

south.

Eighty-five

percent of

the

oil

shale,

(NaH C03), nearly all of the dawsonite [Na3


nearly
Al (C03)3. 2A1 (OH3 Na)], and all of the developed natural gas are on
United States Government land in the White River drainage portion (fig. 1).
all of

The
ment of

the

nahcolite

following

primarily to natural resources


the White River drainage portion of Piceance Basin.

Although

leasing

recent

is encouraging

and

the

velopment of a

1,900 feet thick,

contains

to

industry

underlies a

efficiency,

development

of a

by

to

government

of

effective

30

mile

United States

result

thus

shale oil

has

long-term de

area,

protores, in

problems which

industry

remain unchanged.

development,
can

to

develop

resources

energy

in tight formations

water resources

and contribute

25

sodium-aluminum

Uncoordinated development

habitat.

by

controlling

shale oil

reserves of natural gas

with respect

cessful

lens

land

for development

conditions

United States

single oil shale

developed

of oil shale

need

been greater, the

never

cally

remarks relate

and

places

up to

overlies

is located

grazing,

only in

ranges

criti

and wildlife

waste

and

far have delayed

in
suc

industry.

following quotation, written in 1916 about the Colorado River


drainage area by Nathan C. Grover of the United States Geological Survey,
The

is

as

true

today

mense region?
will

be

water

as when written:

"What is to be the future

Its

resources, on

greatest

which

this im

be utilized, its mineral wealth


development must come however from its

Doubtless its forests

unfolded.

of

will

development

of

pend."

Consulting Mining Engineer, Grand Junction, Colo.


185

its

other resources must

de

Quarterly

186

Colorado School

of the

of

Mines

Figure 1

Recognizing limitations
culties

every

imposed

under

effort must

in the interests

be

of

the White River

existing legislation

made

the

of

to

reconcile and

nation's

which

and

shale

is based

of

development become
upon

Dyni (1968).

the distribution of

the

It

work of

shows

salt

by

to

overcome

these limitations

future.

Requirements for development


term oil

and

supply and diffi


downstream obligations,
water

these

water resources and

apparent

Donnell

by

( 1971),

reference

Hite

the outcrop boundaries

and nahcolite-dawsonite

of

and

for

long-

to figure 1

Dyni

( 1967),
(1)
and
(2)

the oil shale,

mineralization,

Oil Shale:

Roadblock

Solution

and

187

subsurface structure contours on the orange marker near the

Limits

oil shale.

the Rio Blanco site, important for its

of

serves of natural

the

bottom

the

Yellow Creek

about

2,300 feet below the

(2)

Water

the

of

developed

re

The basin is

saucer-shaped with

elevation of

the White River in

vicinity.

The requirements

(1)

also are shown.

gas,

base

are:

White River

resources of the

must

be effectively

regional and

industrial

The existing

vast underground reservoir of saline water must

growth.

from reaching

prevented

for

used

does

the White River as it

be

now prior

to mining.

(3)

The halite

zone

be effectively isolated from the mining

must

area.

Provision

(4)

age and

(5)

must

be

for

made

control of surface run-off and

for orderly development

and use of

the

reclaimed

for agriculture, grazing, fishing and wildlife.


A mining method applicable to thick overburden
and

handling

materials

the problems

handling

of

water soluble nahcolite

be

must

a shale oil

industry,

Basin

The

(7)

growth are

to

ore

shale

tailings

must

overcoming
disposal and of

be developed.

near-simultaneous

industry,

development

of

Piceance

and a

of

base

power and

and

processing,

peaking

power must

industrial

and

regional

be

accomplished.

Additional townsites,
ational

thick

and

toward

spent

a sodium-aluminum

supply

be

for

directed

land

industry.

natural gas

available

made

increased if mining,

(8)

and

overburden

Provision

(6)

system

drain

facilities

must

access

roads, schools,

be developed

hospitals,

through joint

and recre

government-

industry planning.
With 85

by

controlled

and

lack

nated

or

by

eral.

of

percent of

the

and with

government,

reserves,

who

oil shale reserves on

is to take the initiative


problem

is

the

solution

does

The

and

problems are

and

industry fractionated by ownership

development? The
regulation;

land

government

not one

primarily those

not

of

leading

to be

involve

towards

solved

one

by

coordi

legislation

industry but

engineering, planning,

sev

and co

ordination.

The

between

nature

of

developing

the

problem

the ore

arises

from the fundamental difference

reserves of a given mine and

developing

the

natural resources of a vast area.

The

present approach

to development

of

United States

shale oil

Quarterly

188

industry fails

adequately to

developing

the

Unless

and until

and appropriate steps

taken to

of a vast area.

is guaranteed, Colorado

shale

greatest
of

the

and a potential

assets,

Furthermore,

the nation

it,

this

for the

United States in the

western

will

history

this

of
a

of oil

than, the total reserves of the Middle East.


The situation is analogous but more complex

coal over oil

one

industrial

nation will

source

a single

recognized

be denied

greatest stage of

not

water resources

the supremacy of

nation

be denied

will

the

fundamental difference is

correct

and

developing

including

resources,

this

does

these requirements, and

recognize

natural

Mines

of

fundamental difference between

take into account the


mine and

Colorado School

of the

be

its

of

growth

suppressed.

to, if

equal

not

greater

Deidesheimer in 1860

Philip
Nevada,

the

where

the ore could

rich ore was so wide

be

not

mined

by

on

to introduce the "Nevada

ly

accepted

practice, but

Jackling faced
copper

porphyry

or

that a

as

then

new

existed

Mining

the ground

square set

so

heavy

Deidesheimer

departure from

that
went

general

now a conventional method.

and overcame

deposits. In

industry

and

conventional methods.

similar

situation

in

developing

the

deposits few
high-grade ore,

the rich copper vein

view of

low-grade porphyry

thought that

confronting
Comstock Lode in Virginia City,

the

at

than that

ore could compete with

could compete with an established

industry

such

in Michigan.

low-grade taconite iron

of

ore

is

a radical

departure from

generally accepted mining of high-grade direct-shipping ores of the Lake


Superior district, but the transition has been accomplished successfully.
Fredrick

Bradley,

at

technical and economic

ing

only $1.00

Certainly,
to the past.
the

per

ton

Alaska-Juneau, successfully demonstrated

feasibility

with gold at

accomplishments

Just

challenge of

tribution toward

as

mining low-grade
$20.67 per ounce.

of

the

of

today's problems in

making the

world a

have delayed development

capable of

triggering

industries,

regional and

and coal

base

mining

gold ore contain

industry

are not

certainly, the engineering profession is

changing world, including its


better place in which to live.

of a

a chain reaction

overcomes

affecting the

to the oil

shale oil

con

industry

is

sodium and aluminum

water resources

shale region

to

difficulties that for 56

United States

industrial growth,

adjacent

limited

dedicated

A technological development that


years

mineral

the

development,

for electrically

generated

power.

Paradoxically,
creasing the supply

rather

of

oil,

demand for energy by in


development increases the demand for

than to alleviate the


shale oil

energy by promoting additional industrial growth.


Also paradoxically, rather than competing with

coal as a source of

Oil Shale:
oil shale

oil,

base

power

dustry,

and

Roadblock

promotes

mining

for

oil shale

for

regional and

the

use of

processing, for

industrial

Solution

and

189

for electrically

coal

generated

in

a potential sodium-aluminum

growth.

The technology is described in recently issued U.S. Patents:


3,735,704
3,762,771
3,775,984
It is

extending research to determine requirements for the de


underground installations to include the design and excavation

a result of

fense

of

of surface and underground mine openings.

Each

of

the elements

of

the

control of

trajectory,

control of

granulometry,

control of

stability,

blasting

new

technology,

in its application,

limited to the
it improves

proposed

the

upon

including

mining

include

and

has been demonstrated for blasts up to 20,000


unlimited

which

coal and

method

technology

for

The

yards.

technology

tar sand mining;

deep

basin mining,

it is

and

is

not

instead

of conventional surface and underground

mining.

Should there be any doubt concerning the technical and economic


feasibility of a new technology, one need look no further than Colorado.
At NORAD the

ing

it

span

possible

to

concepts of
complete a

but successfully

stability

facility

that

was

Contractors-Hill, Panama Canal,


depth of 600 ft, threatening to close the

rock were

successfully

that

have

could

caving

excavated and concreted at a

At

blasting

control

excavated

closed

the

canal

Although the breakage

to

depend

that

stripping ratio, the

following

evolved,

65 ft

116-ft

Fifteen

mak

unsupported

span.

3 ft

opened

the stability

wide

to

million yards of

block

of a

of rock

several years.

process control

principal variations

at a

fracture

canal.

restore

for

were

thickness

upon the

discussion

mining

of

the

method

includes three
the

of overburden and

method

employing the mining cell concept.


Refer now to the plan view in figure 2 where four

is limited to

one

variation

in

various stages of progress are shown

of pillars

covery

between cells,

unit).

In

mining advance,
mined-out cells

adjacent

at

enlarged cross section

note

in

except pillars

(the final

the

the

CC,

various stages of

relation

to the highwall (fig.

mining

units

being the recovery


boundary of the pillar re
stage

parallel

terrace

to the

direction

construction above

to mining and stripping

2)

cell

at

the row

of

of

the

cells

Quarterly

190

of the

Colorado School

TERRACE

HIGH

INTERMEDIATE

PLANT

Mines

of

TERRACE

TEJWACE
-"-

\Vi

mm 1'ou.c
etvi.

L.

unn

fe

u*

CC

SECTION

PILLARS

two
cat

MHCt)

COVERED 8t

ARtA

RGS

4,5, AM) S

/
^

OIRECTION

OF

CELL

MliN6

ACMWCE

/N

13
+

CHk

on i. atm

r-~T
--

gM[

c'

--r

i_

_____j
-

MMH.

rum*

JMX
PILLAR RECOVERY

UBJL una*

IMT

TYPICAL

UNff-

PROCESS

unit-

MHUNO

STORAGE LAYOUT

AND PUMPED

MINING
BREAKAGE

BARODYNAMICS. INC.
COLORADO
GRAND JUNCTION.

-CELL

CONTROL

(RATENTS

MINING METHOD

PENDING)

Figure 2

from the highwall

view

figure 3. Construction
flow

terrace

of

processing plant
upward into terrace

elevation.

into

The

and

mined-out cells.

of

spent shale moves

farther

to

used

construct

In figure

how

5,

how the

surface

the overburden

looks

downward

dikes surrounding

dikes

after all

to the

la

steps

of

com

the

results are ac

how the outcrop is prepared


the deposit and to receive the first slice of

and

to the interior

mining is

are visible.

beginning and see how


materials handling is simplified.

us return

complished and

access

we show

the tops

Only

Now let

for

storage

ponds.

In figure 4
plete.

is

the

to ore

the overburden moves

of

remainder

of spent shale and

shale moves upward

After retorting,

Part

ponds.

towards the terraces is shown in

for disposal

ponds

is illustrated. Broken

of materials

the terrace

looking

lb,

we show

overburden.

Figure

6, step 2

into the face


where

it is

available
of

the

is developed

in figure

7,

an

preparation

Removal
which

is

step 3.

for

illustration

area,

of

trajectory

leaving build-up

control

muck on

blasting
top

of

of muck

the bench

terrace pond construction.

overburden

underground

from the

area of a

using tunnel

boring

future mining cell,


machines, is

shown

Oil Shale:

Roadblock

and

Solution

191

CO

Quarterly

192

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

Oil Shale: Roadblock

193

Solution

and

OVERBUROEN

FACE

OVERBUROEN

^r?

v.
>

PREPARATION

OREBOOY
FACE

JttliTi,

OREBODY

AND OVERBURDEN
STEP

FACE

PREPARATION

la

OVERBURDEN

FACE

PREPARATION

OREBOOY

FACE

V-trajECTORY

<Xv-~

ENTREE SYSTEM

CONTROL

PREPARATION

PROOUCT

PREPARATION

FACE

SLOT

CONTROL

ENTREE

ENTREE
STEP

SYSTEM

PREPARATION

AREA

lb

Figure 5

cess

A typical mining cell adjacent to the face preparation area and pro
plant pillar is shown in figure 8. Dimensions of the cell are determined

both

by

400 feet
mile

the thickness of
thick

intervals

Access to

covered

400 feet

and pillars parallel

mining

of ramps or

by

overburden and

from

cell either

overburden,

to the

face

may be from the

underground

predetermined vertical

of

thickness of ore.

intervals

by

oil shale

access pillars are at

one-

are one-fourth mile apart.


surface

multiple entrees

within

For

the pillars.

downward

by

way

and cross-entrees

at

194

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

BUILD-UP

MUCK

OVERBURDEN

CONTROL.^TRAJECTORY
CROSS-

and

ENTREES

EXPLOSION

OREBOOY

CHAMBERS

MUCK

TRAJECTORY

STEP

TRAJECTORY

FACE
AND

CONTROL

ROW

PREPARATION

BUILD-UP

BLASTING

TO

AREA,

MUCK

REMOVAL

Figure 6

BREAKAGE

EMBANKMENT

BLAST

ACCESS
8ENCH

-EMBANKMENT

LIMIT

MUCK

AREA

SLOT
SYSTEM

ADVANCE

.^rz.

STEP

CELL

DEVELOPMENT

AND

ROW

FOR

EMBANKMENT

Figure 7

MATERIALS

BLASTING

TRENCH
>

Oil Shale:

Roadblock

and

Solution

195

SECTION

LONGITUDINAL

Figure 8

The

from the

stability

blasting

10,

step

by trajectory

oil shale

from

Ramp

zone, is

to

crush

shown

the

and

4,

in

control

first row

dike

horizontal

minimize oversize

in figure 9. Ramps for downward

damage is

a zone adjacent

we

successive

the ore and

cell are prepared and pillar

control

In figure

ping

blasting

product control

into the

mining downward in

cell

autogenous

slices, using

access

of

sequence

illustrate the

to the

prevented

by

resumption of overburden

blasting following

using

pillars.

excavation

and

strip

removal

of

of cells.

using product control blasting to obtain


range in granulometry is shown in figure

construction

rock of predetermined size and

11, step 5.
Terrace
to

be

ponds are

constructed at

the

formed to

top

of ore

receive spent shale

body

elevation

from

between

a retort plant
adjacent

dikes

(fig. 12).
In figure
of

cells,

we

the terrace

13, longitudinal

illustrate
ponds

cross section

a subsequent

have been filled

EE

parallel

step in the disposal


and pillar ponds

to the

long

axis

of spent shale after

have been

constructed

196

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

05
W
X

D
O

Oil Shale:

Roadblock

and

Solution

197

w
as

P
O

198

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

.8

/<

0UJ

a
as

D
O

3 5
i :

GO

uj
I-

x
U.

<

o
UJ

cc
uj

Oil Shale:

Roadblock

and

Solution

199

Ol

LU
CC

CO

to

LU

cr

co
CO

CO
CO
Ul

CO
CO

1
LU
o

(j
<

<

o
o
<

Ul
o
CJ

<

200

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

CO

w
OS

o
>-t

fe

Oil Shale:

between
the

is

The final
shown

201

Solution

and

Drainage

terrace ponds.

adjacent

spent shale

Roadblock

and

of water

recovery

from

also shown.

result

of

mining, overburden

in figure 14. It indicates

and spent

disposal is

shale

continuing land

surface reclamation and

use.

Although

does

space

sources

and pumped

mining

layout,

the

water

is

the

in

lower

pool

the

by

storage

during

overburden-filled

for

description

complete

hydropower development

manner

( fig.

15 ) in

turbines to

mining

cells

made

solar evaporation

high

for

release

a part

during

in terrace ponds,

dams

conven

stored within voids

periods of

storage
and

the

Water diverted from

flow is

for collection,

of

re

whence

in

an upper pool as

stream

water

"lower pool";

hydropower development.
periods of

as

of

which conventional

to

elevate water

reversible

flow. Provision has been


water,

permit

White River

elevated

tional pumped

storage

we show

constructed on the

not

for

low

stream

of saline

and use

control of surface

drainage.
CONCLUSION
A

roadblock

industry

exists

to long-range

because

the

development

of a

United States

natural resources of a vast area

shale oil

simply

cannot

PILLARS

HIGH TERRACE

NTERMEDIATE

PLANT
SPILLWAY

VOIDS

STRUCTURE

STORAGE

INTAKE-

RETORT

PLANT

Figure 14

SITE

ACCESS

TERRACE

TERRACE

ACCESS

ACCESS

202

Quarterly

CONTROL

'LOOO

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

'"OCL

SECTION

WATER

RESOURCES

AA

CELL

DEVELOPMENT

Figure 15

be developed using conventional concepts


velopment, and because the conservation
to long-range development

The

solution

of mine

of

these

layout

de

and mine

resources

is

essential

of oil shale.

to development

square mile area underlain

by

of natural resources within

oil shale of

the 16,000

Green River formation

the

of

Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming requires the joint efforts of industry, local,
These
state (Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming), and federal government.
efforts must

If
Upper

be effectively

moisture
and

falling

organized and coordinated.

upon

the

region

Lower Colorado River Basin states;

tributable to mining, processing, and

if

stream

is to be

beds

and

drainage basins

made available

if

stream

are not

follows day);

night

plant and

protected

result of man's work

the

and

methods of

the

identifying his lack


future, the vastness of

interdependence of
velopment

first

the

must

natural resource

be

natural

land becomes

than a gravestone

recognized.

at

disposal is to be avoided;
to be destroyed by mining

(which follows mining as surely as


animal life within the region are to be
ecology

pollution

spent shale

subsidence

with requirements of

both to

environment;

a monument
of

it,

in

to

his

if

accordance

and

if

as a

vision rather

the interdependence of the

deposits to be mined, and the


development and water resources de
the

Oil Shale:
The

roadblock need not continue.

events of

the past is to

deny

midst of such assets and

for energy

living

Roadblock

are we

to

this

in the face

set

time

To follow

of a

and

its

policy that

changing

time again

perpetuates

greatest assets.

continuing

by

203

Solution

nation one of

solve our problems

up to examples

and

by

and
our

In the

growing demand
way of life or by

the engineering pro

fession?

REFERENCES
Carrol, R. D., Coffin, D. L., Ege, J. R.,
Bureau
U.S. Geol.

on

J.

Donnell,

and

Welder, F. A., 1967, Preliminary report


no. 1, Rio Blanco County, Colorado:

Mines Yellow Creek core hole


Survey, Rept. TEI-869, Mar.

of

R., 1971, Tertiary

basin between Colorado


J.

geology

and

and oil shale resources of

White River:

U.S. Geol.

Survey

the Piceance Creek

Bull.

1082-L.
the Piceance

R., 1968, Preliminary


map
basin, Colorado: U.S. Geol. Survey Open File Rept. TEI-869.
Hite, R. J., and Dyni, J. R., 1967, Potential resources of dawsonite and nahcolite in the
Piceance Creek basin, northwest Colorado: Colorado School Mines Quart, v. 62,

Dyni,

no.

structure

of

the

3, July. (Proc. Fourth Oil Shale Symposium.)


W., Truedell, L. G., Dana, G. F., 1968, Oil

northern

part

of

yields of Green River


Rept.
Inv. 7071, Jan.
Mines,
J.
K.
H.
W.
N., Robb,
A., 1960, Oil yields
Stanfield,
E., Smith,
W., Smith,
River oil shale in Colorado, 1954-57: U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 5614.

Smith,

J.

from Colorado

core

hole

no.

1:

oil shale

U.S. Bur.

of

Green

FISCHER ASSAY OF OIL SHALE

PROCEDURES OF THE OIL SHALE CORPORATION


Goodfellow1

Lawrence

Mark T.

and

Atwood2

ABSTRACT
Fischer assay

laboratory

yields which would result

to analysis

applied

can

be

of

carried out.

from

alyzing

product gas mixtures.

eters and

commercial

processing

The Oil Shale Corporation has

to producing

and

procedures are used

complete

techniques

material

are

balances

estimate oil

When

of oil shale.

large-scale,

its tech

also applied

by

discussed along

to monitoring

application

to

an economic evaluation of oil shale reserves

cores,

niques

Equipment

retorting

and

collecting

an

with statistical param

precommercial

retorting

operations.

INTRODUCTION

Colorado
marlstone,

oil shales are made

embedded

in

up

of

inorganic materials, predominantly

a three-dimensional organic polymer called

gen."

Except for

oil shale

does

small amounts of associated

not yield

hydrocarbons

benzene

soluble

"kero

bitumen,

when extracted with organic solvents

at normal temperatures.

Oil

be

can

from

obtained

oil shale

by

pyrolysis.

This

results

in de

kerogen to hydrocarbon vapors. After cooling, the


heavier hydrocarbon vapors condense to liquid shale oil. Light hydro
composition

the

of

carbons remain

The
function
estimate

in the

vapor phase as product gas.

yield of product
of

the

the

hydrocarbons from

percentage of

percentage

of

centage of organic carbon.

kerogen

and

determine its

kerogen in the

kerogen in
Smith

ore

is

almost

entirely a
processed. We can

being
by determining

oil shale

(1971)

chemical

oil shale

was able

composition.

to isolate nearly

Relationships

Supervisor of Control Laboratory, The Oil Shale Corporation, Golden, Colo.


^Manager of Laboratories, The Oil Shale Corporation, Golden, Colo.

205

its

per

pure

which

206

Quarterly

developed demonstrate

were

is divided

from

by 0.8052,

view,

kerogen

than the

kerogen is

of

from the

the

specific

tions

be

the oil shale

of

the

( Smith

Fischer assay

mation of

Stanfield

determination

routine

the

of pyrolysis

oil

Later, J. W. Smith ( 1962 )

oil shale.

of

calculation

more complete evaluation of

by

used

applied

for

esti

Cook 1974).

described

(1946)
of

from 100-gram

coal, to the
samples

of

gas,

as well as oil and

water, and,

balances from summing the weights of


spent shale.
Smith's procedure provides for

material

oil and

gas, water,

obtained

be

reported modifications which per

mitted quantitative collection of product

product

must

carbonization

yields

correla

Fischer assay procedure,

older

to the low temperature

applied

previously

and

the U.S. Bureau of Mines

of

application of

and

modification

(Miknis, Decora,

oil yields

Frost

and

have been

from

and

(Cook 1974). These

oil shale

techniques

magnetic resonance

Fischer assay

1969 )

used

Nuclear

thus,

estimation of

for checking Fischer assay oil yields, but


the limitations described by the respective authors.

can

within

the

amount of recover

content.

gravity

organic carbon content of

shale

However,

calculated.

interested in the

we are

Correlations have been developed for the


oil yield

Mines

of

that if the organic carbon value in oil

the percentage

a practical point of

able oil rather

Colorado School

of the

the

simply measuring

than that

commercial value of oil shale

oil

yield,

since

there is

significant value

in

the product gas.

Hubbard

(1965)

described the

apparatus

used

by

the Bureau

of

Mines for automated, simultaneous operation of 12 Fischer assay retorts.


Product gas was not collected or measured. This assembly was particularly
useful

in

for

a short

core

analysis,

The Oil Shale Corporation designed

of

gas-tight retort similar


core analysis

Haberman,
and sulfur

and

to that

balances

determination

equal

the

weight of

able

to

when applied

these

as a

of product

core

due to
"gas

the raw shale. We

"TOSCO

procedures

to

spent shale and

establish a material

ferred to

be

assayed

balances
and

stainless

steel,

application to

( Goodfellow,

carbon,

nitrogen

were reported.

When the

Fischer

(1962) for

Product balances

tion and analysis of the product gas

oil, water,

Smith

by

used

Atwood 1968).

and

Our procedures,
yields of

number of samples could

time.

Personnel

both

large

since a

product gas

balance

material

time

is

involve

limitations. We

plus

which,

to this

collec

report

the

This

totaled,
"modified

when

procedure as

collected and

closure.

years.

not

loss"

refer

balance

consistently for 8

analysis, do

analyzed,

we are

second procedure

(TMBA). We have

is

re

used

Fischer Assay

207

Oil Shale

of

PROCEDURES FOR ANALYSIS


Sample Preparation
In

analysis of core

ing from

smaller than

any

by

a stream of

we prepare quarter core

diamond

by

saw

and, usually, half core


2 inches in diameter. Since the diamond saw is cooled

diameter,

than 2 inches in

core greater

on

sample,

water, the

be dried before further

prepared core slabs must

processing.

After
is

removal of surface

through

passed

The

65

This is

gallon

65

65

minus

by

using

mesh

The %

The
School

of

diameter

Jones

it

mill and

is then

riffle.

was

and

then

adapted

Mines Research Foundation

the wheel,

in bottles in the

and mechanical

in the bottles.

than Vi gallon

at

used

the Colorado

holders

offset

motion.

20 inches in

Sam

revolutions per minute.

such as

the

and

nonrepetitive

less

than &

the entire

return

and consists of a wheel

interruptors,

less

"blending

on a

from that

offset sample

The interruptors

to give a

blended

ball

on

the periphery

of

bearings,

are placed

of

the bottles

positioning

The

to

about

containing

is to

Ray

particle size

a volume of

then split to

approximately 20

which rotates at

the

have 0.024-inch

mill

shale

good procedure

four times

wheel

to

split

the

reduces

in the Raymond

gallon samples are

blending

ples are placed

combine

through an 8-inch

passed

giving comminuted
particles (0.0082 inch).

mesh material

lengths,

mill reduces

mesh.

is then

screens used

sample through the riffle


volume.

This

crusher.

round perforations

percent minus

The

four

minus

hammer-type

jaw

sized

mesh material

The

mesh.

diameter,
99

four

minus

mond mill.
minus

laboratory

to approximately

sample size

moisture, the core, usually in 1-foot

are

samples

left

on

the

blending wheel for 30 minutes.


The final step in sample
into four separate 100-gram
sample

are

is

split on a small

then ready

for

preparation

samples

Jones riffle,

analysis and can

of

is splitting the blended sample


minus 65 mesh oil shale.
The

and

be

the

stored

separate

in

100-gram

samples

a prepared core sample

library.
The

65

mesh

that the

requirement

and

Fischer assay

sirability

of

bulk

sample

be

ground

carefully blended before removing 100-gram


adds a

tedious

operation with coarser

ever, follows

core or

time-consuming step in

blends. Our

guidelines

suggested

finer grinding

who reported on an

and

sample preparation

by

Taggart (1966).

of samples was

investigation

confirmed

of replicate assays of

by

to

minus

samples

comparison

for
to

technique, how

Further,
Reeves

both

minus

the

de

(1964)
8

mesh

208

Quarterly

and minus

65

with

the

finer

Colorado School

of the

mesh raw shale samples.


mesh samples was

The

Mines

of

data

obtained

procedures

specified

precision of

better.

TOSCO Modified Fischer Assay


A 100-gram
The

above.

7-ounce Coors

transfer
used

disks

are placed

in the

between

the periphery

A tarred

obtained

weighed

to the

of

to

head

and

0.001

balance. The
and

intervals in the

prevent

As

the

nearest

beer can,

aluminum

steel retort.

the

following

or other suitable

sample

stainless steel studs.

The

is

are placed at regular

to cover the

placed

is

sample

Mettler P-160

loading
into

sample

dusting,

shown

the retort,

Thermocouples

and

in figure
and

is

sample

three

a top-

on

poured

heat

aluminum

sample.

Glass

wool

the sample and container

1,

an aluminum gasket

the retort is sealed using

are placed

is

both in the

is

four

sample and on

the retort, as indicated.

sealed retort

is then

placed

adapter and centrifuge

in the

tube

retort

heater assembly (fig. 2).

are connected

to the

denser system, as shown in figure 3.


The system is purged with nitrogen three times to
The

atmosphere.

gram

condenser

cooling

system

is

retort and con

ensure

an

inert

started and maintained

at

approximately 32 F. The temperature con


troller is then turned on, and the retort is heated at a rate so that the
an

ice

water

temperature
tions given

temperature

curve of

by

of

the internal thermocouple

Smith (1962). This temperature

Table

1. Fischer

conforms

profile

is

to the
given

specifica

in table 1.

assay temperature profile

( Internal Thennocouple )
Time

(Minutes)

Approximate Temperature

78

113

10

212

15

311

20

419

25

536

30

662

35

761

40

860

45

914

50-70

932

(F)

Fischer Assay

of

209

Oil Shale

HEAD

THERMOCOUPLE

ALUMINUM GASKET

HEAT TRANSFER

ALUMINUM CAN

BASE

DISC

THERMOCOUPLE

RETORT

Figure 1.

Retort

assembly.

DISCS

210

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

CHAMBER LID

CAL ROD

BASE

HEATER

HEAT

REFLECTOR

-TRANSITE

Figure

2. Retort

heater

HEATER

assembly.

CHAMBER

Fischer Assay

of

211

Oil Shale

GAS

TO BE

VENTED

THERMOCOUPLE

NITROGEN

TO

PURGE

CONDENSER

ICE

WATER

CENTRIFUGE

ICE

Figure

The
couple

rate of

to

3.Product collection

heat input is

a programmer

controlled

and

power

assembly

WATER

basic.

by signals from the

supply (not

TUBE

outside

shown).

thermo

The internal

thermocouple is used strictly for temperature measurement.


Originally,
the internal thermocouple was used for control of energy input. Mr.

Dennis Dworak

of

Atlantic Richfield

performance when the outside

at

932

the

thermocouple

was used

for this

improved

purpose.*

50 minutes, the temperature is held for 20 minutes


After this soak period is completed, nitrogen is purged through

As indicated,
F.**

(Colony) demonstrated

after

system.

*Private communication.
**J. W. Smith ( 1962) suggests
to be sufficient.

40-minute

soak period.

We have found 20

minutes

212

Quarterly
The

tube are

is then

retort

allowed

The

removed.

Colorado School

of the

to

by

for

pipette

and

The

measurement.

gravity

residue are weighed.

by

weight of

obtained

subtracting the

gravity, from the total

weight

liquid

of

rpm.

the

of

and a sample

the aluminum can plus

is

oil

specific

warmed

2,000

minutes at

to

approxi

The
is

oil

volume

removed

is then

retort

The

centrifuge

and

adapter

is stoppered,

centrifuge tube

mately 100F and centrifuged for 10


of water in the receiver is recorded,

the

and

cool

Mines

of

opened

weight of product

water, assuming

unit specific

Measurement

product.

the

of

gravity of the oil permits calculations of oil yield in gallons per ton.
The total weights of the liquid products (oil and water) plus spent
shale residue, figured on the basis of 1 ton of dry raw shale feed, are

specific

from 2,000

subtracted
loss."

The

the

comparison of

calculated

difference in these

figure that

is

valuable

attributable

to

TOSCO Material Balance Assay

oil shale

is

placed

temperature

accord with

vapors are given off and are


are

cooled

tube,

centrifuge

"tee"

and

ice

the

means of a

mercury

drop

then

profile given

driven

water.

analysis

to

out

Oil

of

the

system and

By

the

sure

in the

gen.

The

for
of

be

or

is

in

tube

a centrifuge

and

are

water

and

usual

gas

bomb is

gas

From the

analysis.

nitrogen, the

and condenser

in the

bomb.

evacuated gas

the

by

the solenoid

system

is

returns

to

through

passed

bomb.

procedures, the

bomb is

one

through the condenser

into the

deactivates the solenoid,


gas

is

and water

condensed

noncondensable gases activate

switch and are pulled

into the

shown

oil shale rises

above, hydrocarbon

atmospheric pressure until another surge of product gas

the

handling

a stainless steel retort which

noncondensable gases go

indicated. The

to the

Pressure

by

in

As the temperature

component of a closed system.

which

loss figure

(TMBA)

in the TMBA

schematic of equipment used

figure 4. The
in

plus

Any large

check.

physical

"gas

errors.

recording

represents

measured value with a gas plus

is usually

values

analyses

regression

using

to give

pounds

raised

oil and water are measured.

by

to atmospheric

then taken to the gas


volume of

the

bomb

The

pres

the introduction of nitro

chromatography

and

the

laboratory

determined

volume

volume of product retort gas at standard conditions

can

calculated.

Analysis
components

product.

and

then

This

nitrogen

analyses.

of

hydrocarbons,

carbon

monoxide,

permits a complete material

acid

balance

gases

closure on

procedure also permits calculation of organic

balances

after

completion

of

the

and

other

the total

carbon, sulfur,

appropriate

elemental

Fischer Assay

of

Oil Shale

213

<
PQ

S
H

'rt

O
u

O
H
I

s
a
o
0)

S
O

W
a

P
o
l-H

fa

214

Quarterly

of the

Colorado School

of

Mines

PRECISION OF MODIFIED FISCHER ASSAY


As described above, the preparation of oil
assay is a very important factor in obtaining
experience

has been that

be traced to inadequate

for Fischer

shale samples
meaningful

results.

Our

most problems with precision and


sample preparation

accuracy can
Inaccuracies in

procedures.

Fischer assay itself result from varying the heating rate from that pre
scribed above, inaccurate measurement of the specific gravity of the oil,

judging improperly the water-oil


Many uncertainties about the accuracy

and

successfully carrying

out material

interface in the

product receiver.

of procedures can

balance

be

resolved

assays and organic carbon

by

bal

ances.

In

order

a statistical

to

the

establish

basis,

we prepared

replicate analyses on

each

in table 2.

The

are given

0.5

percent on a volume

Table

precision of our modified

2. Standard

four

using the
standard

Fischer

assays on

raw shale composites and conducted

procedures outlined above.

deviation

Results

on oil yield averages about

basis.

deviation

analyses

and

95

percent confidence

using TOSCO

modified

limits

on replicate

assay
95% Confidence

Sample

Number

of

Standard Deviation

Mean

Limit

(gpt

(gpt)

(%)

(gpt)

(%)

20

44.82

0.25

0.6

0.52

1.2

21

29.95

0.11

0.4

0.23

0.8

29.82

0.19

0.6

0.49

1.6

26

32.90

0.19

0.6

0.39

1.2

Description

Determinations

Specific Gravity

Standard

Deep Core
C-b Plot

TG 71 Core
Composite

TOSCO Ore Pile

Grab Sample

CORRELATION OF YIELDS FROM THE TOSCO II SEMIWORKS

AND TOSCO MATERIAL BALANCE ASSAY


In 1967 The Oil Shale Corporation

balance

runs

in the 1,000 ton

per

Valley, Colorado. (This facility

day
was

(TMBA)

completed a number of material

TOSCO II

facility

subsequently

north of

operated

for

Grand
over

Fischer Assay

of

Oil Shale

215

by Colony Development Operation with Atlantic Richfield acting


operator. ) One of these material
balances, based on total feed of 4,730

year
as

tons

shale, is given in table 3.

of oil

TMBA data

comparison

is

shown of average

obtained on representative portions of the shale charged

the semiworks

Table

3. The

TOSCO II

system semiworks plant yield

summary

Lbs Yield/100 lbs Fischer Assay Oil

Semi-Works

and

Lighter

Plant Yield

TOSCO Material

wt% of

Balance Assay

Fischer Assay

Plant

C3

to

(Lenhart 1968).

unit

10.78

11.72

92.0

105.84

104.14

101.6

116.62

115.86

100.7

9.92

10.28

96.5

126.54

126.14

100.3

Gases

C4 and Heavier
Hydrocarbons
Sub-

Total

Acid Gases
Total Products

gas"

The
the two

between the two "C3 and lighter


heavier
yields is illustrated.

close parallel

yields and

hydrocarbon"

"C4

and

Acid

gas

yields also correlate well.

This

close

illustrated in

of

similarity

more

the

semiworks and

detail in table 4

( Lenhart

The basis for the comparisons,

lating
of oil

the

from

a yield of

semiworks yield

the TMBA run

100

pounds

99.59

1968 )

from

and

4, involves
We

Fischer assay oil and calculate the


in relative proportion. In table 4 the

weight percent of that produced

All

re

the corresponding yield

on a representative oil shale sample.

sentative oil shale sample.

is

in tables 3

expected

product slates

of

plant yield of product oil


oil yield was

to that

given

TMBA

by

TMBA

assume

semiworks

semiworks
on a repre

other component yields are calculated

in

mathematical proportion.

Comparisons
given

in tables

The

close

operations and

mating

of organic

5, 6

and

sulfur and nitrogen

distributions

are

7.

parallelism

TMBA

carbon,

provides a simple

commercial yields

from large-scale TOSCO II


and inexpensive means for esti

of product slates

from

small quantities of representative oil shale.

216

Quarterly
Table

4.- The

of the

Colorado School

TOSCO II

of

Mines

system semiworks plant yields

Lbs Yield/100 lbs Fischer Assay Oil

Semi-Works

TOSCO Material

Plant

Balance Assay

.41

.91

.22

.84

.45

.37

.06

0
2
2
c2-

.84

.16

.17

1,

1,

1,

1,

10,

11,

i-c4

0,

0,

n-C,

0,

0,

C4"

1.

1. 10

1.

1.

1. 17

0. 69

0.

,76

0. 34

0. 36

0. 13

c3
c

.62

.41

Sub-

Total

.78

.13

.68

,38

,67

^8

C8+

Fischer

.63

.41

.72

,07

,67

,14

0. 10

Assay

oil

99. 59

100. 00

Sub-Total

105. 84

104. 14

116. 62

115. 86

8. 58

9.14

1. 34

1.14

126.54

126.14

Total

co2

HoS

GRAND TOTAL

Fischer Assay

Table

5. The

TOSCO II

of

217

Oil Shale

system semiworks plant organic carbon

distribution

( Basis :

100 lb

of organic carbon

in feed )

Semi-Works

TOSCO Material

Plant

Balance Assay

Oil

64.5

64.6

Gas

11.0

10.5

75.5

75.1

21.9

24.6

Accounted for losses

0.6

0.0

Unaccounted for losses

2.0

0.3

100.0

100.0

Sub-Total
Spent Shale

Total

Table

6. The

TOSCO II

system semiworks plant sulfur

(Basis: 100 lb

of sulfur

Se mi -Works
Plant

distribution

in feed )
TOSCO Material
Balance

Assay

Oil

13.9

14.8

Gas

20.4

19.2

0.8

Water

Sub Total
Spent Shale
Accounted for losses

UnacccDunted1 for losses

_.-_

35.1

34.0

68.3

69.2

1.2

-4.6

-3.2

100.0

100.0

218

Quarterly

Table

7. The

of the

TOSCO II

( Basis :

Colorado School

of

Mines

system semiwoiks plant nitrogen

100 lb

of nitrogen

in feed )
TOSCO Material

Semi-Works

Balance

Plant

Oil

distribution

Assay

50.9

49.8

3.0

3.9

53.9

53.7

44.3

50.0

Gas

Water
Sub-

Total

Spent Shale
Accounted for losses

1.2

Unaccounted for losses

0.6

-3.7

100.0

100.0

With

in

significant changes

commercial process

configurations, this

useful

may vary in detail. However, the total hydrocarbon yield


from large-scale operations and TMBA has always been virtually identical.
correlation

SUMMARY
Techniques have been

(1)

outlined

for:

preparation of oil shale samples

from

core or other

bulk

configur

ations,

(2)

conducting

TOSCO

lected

material

percent confidence

1.6

the product gas is not

balance

assays

in

which all products are col

of

the

limits

statistical precision

of replicate

assay

of

the

oil yields

data
to

show

the 95

be between 0.8

percent.

The
to

where

and analyzed.

Determinations

and

Fischer assays,

and

collected,

(3)

modified

application of

the

material

balance Fischer assay data

prediction of commercial yields and product slates

(TMBA)

is illustrated.

Fischer Assay

of

219

Oil Shale

REFERENCES

Cook, E. YV., 1974, Green River shale oil yields: correlation with elemental analysis:
Fuel, v. 53, p. 16-20, Jan.
Goodfellow, Lawrence, Haberman, C. E., and Atwood, M. T., 1968, Modified Fischer
equipment, procedures and product balance determinations, Division of
assay

Petroleum Chemistry: Am. Chem. Soc, San Francisco Mtg., Apr.


A. B., 1965, Automated modified Fischer retorts for assaying

Hubbard,

bituminous

materials:

oil shale and

U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 6676.

Lenhart, A. F., 1968, TOSCO

process shale oil yields: presented, 97th Ann. Mtg., Am.


Inst. Mining Metall. Petroleum Engineers, Feb. 27.
Miknis, F. P., Decora, A. W., and Cook, G. L., 1974, Pulsed NMR examination of
oil
estimation of potential oil yields:
U.S. Bur. Mines, Laramie, Wyo.,
Division of Fuel Chemistry.
Reeves, W. H., 1964, Investigation of methods for the determination of crude shale
Colorado School Mines Research Foundation, Rept. no. 64-1,
oil in oil shales:
Dec.
Smith, J. W, 1962, Analytical method for study of thermal degradation of oil shale:
U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 5932.
1969, Theoretical relationship between density and oil yield for oil shales:
shales

U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 7248.


-,

1971,

Ultimate

composition of organic material and

Green River

oil shale:

U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 5725.


Stanfield, K. E., and Frost, I. C, 1946, Method of assaying oil shale by a modified
Fischer retort: U.S. Bur. Mines Rept. Inv. 3977.
dressingores and industrial
materials;
Taggart, A. F., 1966, Handbook of mineral
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., table 13, sec. 19.

RAPID DETERMINATION OF RECOVERABLE OIL


IN OIL SHALE BY THERMAL ANALYSIS
P. Robert

Reed, Jr.,

and

Philip L. Warren

INTRODUCTION
Detennination

of recoverable oil

ation and analysis of


with

bitumen

the MP-3 thermal

oil shale

determined

and

bitumen

and

oil shale and separ

components was accomplished

Recoverable

the MP-3 correlated

with

kerogen

kerogen

chromatograph.

Chromatographic data

results.

in Green River

well

oil

in Green River

with

Fischer assay

that it is possible to

confirmed

separate

thermally.

INSTRUMENTATION

The MP-3
techniques in
of

the

combines

substance was obtained

temperature as

they

volatiles was

GC

The

evolved gas analysis and chromatographic

instrumentation.

one piece of

grammed manner.

the

both

by heating

it

(EGA curve)
liquid in a pro

thermogram

as a solid or

gases evolved generated a curve as a

the

passed through

obtained

by trapping,

detector. A
then

function

of

gas chromatogram of

backflushing

them through

column.

A flow diagram

of

the MP-3 is

shown

in figure 1. A sample, in the

be heated programmably from 4 to 40C/min to a


Other possible modes were ballistic heating and
maximum of 800 C.
isothermal controlled heating.
Following the flow path in figure 1, volatiles from the sample cham

solids

ber

chamber,

could

pass through valve number

number

3. About half the

(FID).

Emerging from

1,

valve number

sample

is

split

2,

the

column

and

the thermal conductivity

ballistically

and valve

to the flame ionization detector

(TC) detector,
with Porapak Q

filled
remaining half is trapped in a sampling loop
SE-30 on Chromosorb G. For the typical sample, the
to the GC

detector,

and

trap is backflushed

heated to 250C in less than

Chromalytics Corporation, Division of Spex Industries, Umonville, Pennsylvania.

221

the

one

222

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

VfN 1

KOW DIAGRAM

Mines

IO OlMli ANAtVZItS

IIMP

of

HOOItMMII

':

OITICTOI.VAlVf

SAMPII

-fr

OV1N

omoNAi
HAM!
oiuctoa

(~

CMAMSIt

OTAtV VAIV1S

ISOllOSl

OC
OVIN

sTUS

*Oii

inj

IIAI/MtAflt

GASIS/llOUlOf
OTAMftfl

HOW CONttOllIt

I I

OAS CHtOMAIOOIAM

OAS JUMIT

1. The

Figure

MP-3 contains a unique valve system. The


detectors are used for both the thermogram and
valve

sample

can

record

wanted

trapped

The GC

the

with

for

used

of

swept

known

heat is

programmable

a reactant

switching

to

this flow

valve number

valve number

sample.

Also,

1 to the

solvents or

3 to the

The TC

and

removal can

vent position.

be

fractions for identification. An


volatiles

to

can

detector is turned

provides a means of

vent position and

H20

and pressures can

solvents or water

thermal

or valve number

flows

the TC

furnace

bypass

400C

a maximum of

section.

increases the utility of the MP-3


operating time. For example, to study re

number

to

liquid

system

port at the sample

heated

Alternatively,

through the

the thermogram also measure the column elutants.

sample chamber provided

The liquid injection

to

for the thermal

oxygen or other active gases at various

through the

system

substances

the adsorbates to the column as

sends

oil shale samples and saves

torting,

ing

heating

in the chromatogram, the

constituents

spiked with

column

The versatility

for

analysis.

same programmer used

FID detectors

By

identifying

be

Rapid

port.

FID
The

and

operator

it is heated.

for further

volatiles can

injection
"slug."

TC

to pass a variety of carrier gases over


switching valve Number 3, the operator
only the thermogram or collect only those thermal fractions
as

as a means of

minute;

the

system permits

the

same

chromatogram.

During

switched

a sample

bed.

by

switch

run,

valve

or reject selected

optional alve can

a stripper or catalyst

by

the sample.

monitored

to collect

off.

adding

are removed

heating

be

be

be

added to the

Recoverable Oil

223

Thermal Analysis

by

EXPERIMENTAL CONSIDERATION
The format
single-phase

and

3,

the

of

data for

thermogram

respectively.

The

oil shale samples was

and a rich chromatogram as

is the

preferred method of

is insensitive to

intensity

signal

while

Flame ionization detection

the abscissa correspond to temperature or time.

( FID )

to

ordinates correspond

usually a smooth,
shown in figures 2

detection for

oil

in

shale, because it

oil

H20, CO, C02, NH3, H2S, S02, N02

relative

to

its

high sensitivity toward hydrocarbons.

INTENSITY

DEGREES

Figure

2Thermogram of oil
recorded

CENTIGRADE

shale, 34.7

simultaneously

with

The

gal/ton.

TC

and

FID

upper and

detection,

lower traces
respectively.

were

That

"sees"

"sees"

the TC

600

SOO

4 00

300

200

everything

and

the FID

only

organic

materials

is

corroborated by additional peak in the upper trace, probably due to water,


co2, CO, NHo and other inorganics. Heating rate was 28C/min.

224

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

of

Mines

CS

INTENSITY

2 00
DEGREES CENTIGRADE

Figure

3. Chromatogram
observed

GC.

here

of

formed by thermalyzing oil shale. Materials


collected on the MP-3 trap, then backflushed to the

volatiles

were

The temperature

retention

indices

as

program

high

as

3800

rate
can

8C/min. Hydrocarbons with


be backflushed through the system.

was

Sample Preparation
Representative Green River

U. S. Bureau

of

Mines.

oil shale samples were obtained

According

to Fischer assay, the

from the

samples assayed

The total weight of each


70 gal/ ton of oil to oil
with particle size ranging from % inch
sample was approximately 100 g
to 200 mesh. The entire sample was pulverized for two minutes in a

between 10

shale.*

and

Spex Shatter

Box,**

sample preparation

Spex

sieve set

high impact grinding mill. No drying or other


Particle sizes were separated with a
was necessary.
a

to investigate the

effects of mesh size.

A bituminous frac

tion of 34.7 gal/ton Green River oil shale was prepared

traction for 36

Research

benzene

ex

hours.

from J. W. Smith, U. S. Bureau


Center, Laramie, Wyoming 82070.
**Spex Industries, Inc., P. O. Box 798, Metuchen, N. J.
"Samples

by

were obtained

of

Mines,

Laramie

Energy

Recoverable Oil

Thermal Analysis

by

225

Thermal Conditions

Randomly
in

contained

M in. OD

With helium flow


min

ranging from 10 to 60 mg in

selected samples

20cc/min

at

tube

quartz
at

40 psig,

from 50 to 600C. TC detector

tector

sensitivities

number

was

in

heat-treated glass wool.


sample was heated 28 C/

with

each

150

current was

For

indicated.

are

size were

oil

250C. De

ma at

determinations,

yield

valve

"BACKFLUSH"

the

or vent

Each

mogram was recorded.

position,

measurement required

so

that only a ther

15 to 30

minutes.

Chromatograms

Chromatograms

were recorded

temperature programming

with

LIMIT'

8C/min from 25 to 320C in the "HOLD AT


carrier gas

steel,

TC

flow

packed with

and

FID

20

was

cc/min.

The

SE-30

percent

column

Chromosorb

on

termined

response of

by

peak

by

on previous

recording

large

as

less

calcite,

heated,

yield

as a

were

The

The

G, H.P., 80/100

mesh.

function

of sample

loading

de

was

Peak

Errors arising from instrumentation


expected to be 3 percent or less based

error

error

nature of oil shale which

such as

stainless

Data

of

in weighing, detector response,

than 0.75 percent,

percent.

& in.

triangulation.

experience.

were

Helium

or peak area per milligram of oil shale.

integration techniques

and

the

MP-3

height

area was measured

as

the

6 ft

mode.

indicated in figures.

sensitivities are

Measurement

The

was

at

dolomite,

is

clay,

only inorganic

while

due to

sample

errors could

be

inhomogeneity depends

on

integration

documented. Inorganic materials,

not well

feldspar,
gases

plus

pyrite and

quartz,

which

do

not

water,

interfere

with

when

flame

ionization detection (Littlewood 1972).

ASSAY RESULTS
Both

for

peak

height

and peak area of

weighed samples with

MP-3

and

than

known Fischer

peak area per milligram as a

figure 4. The
3.8

mean

percent

for

anticipated on

deviation for
peak

the thermogram
assays.

function

each

correlation of

the

Fischer assay is shown in


data point was 1.8 percent for area

height. Both

10 determinations

The

were measured

of

were somewhat

per sample.

larger deviations

226

Quarterly

Colorado School

of the

of

Mines

900-

800-

700

600.

Area

(mm^)

MP-3

500-1

400

300-

200-

100-

~i

10

20

in Oi I

Oi I

30
Shale

40

"T
50

60

(gal/ton)

by Fischer Assay

Figure

response

were

each point

An increase in
shown

function of oil in oil shale. Peak areas for the MP-3


determined by triangulation. The horizontal line through
indicates the 95 percent confidence range for the Fischer assay.

4. MP-3 response as a

in figure 5.

particle

oil yield with

size was separated

L. Goodfellow

particle size was observed as

sample of crushed shale with random

into

mesh sizes were 200, 100,

by

increasing

et al.

(1968).

various

200,

fractions

+100. A

with

distribution

a sieve

set.

of

The

similar effect was observed

Recoverable Oil

THERMAL-

227

Thermal Analysis

by

RESPONSE
VS

SIZE

MESH

(25.

GAL/TOn)

2.0-

-65

*
IS

PEAK

&

-60

AREA

A,

HEIGHT

(mm/mg)

(mm^/mg)
16

-5f>

0
m

m
liJ

LJ^

-so

l
-200

-IOO

-MOO

SIZE

MESH

Figure

function

5.Thermal response as a

(Goodfellow, Haberman,
with

of mesh

size.

As

1968),

Atwood

and

with

an

the

Fischer assay

increase in

oil

yield

particle size was observed.

increasing

THERMAL SEPARATION IN OIL SHALE

A thermal fraction from


gramming the

oil shale was generated

in the MP-3

sample

solid

by

temperature pro

furnace to the desired

holding for 10 minutes. A


by backflushing the volatiles collected

maximum

temperature and

gas chromatogram was ob

tained

through a temperature pro

Similarities

grammed gas chromatograph.


of a

low

temperature

matographic

fraction

information

and

also

appeared

the benzene

and

chromatograms

extract of oil shale.

indicated that the

formed from kerogen decomposition,

in the

Chro

light hydrocarbons

heavier hydrocarbons

make

are

up

the bituminous fraction.

A 22 mg

sample of

34.7

in three thermal fractions


to 375C (fig.

to the

dences

7); (3)

chromatogram

as

indicated

as

gal/ton

follows:

Green River

(1)

25 to 300C (fig.

375 to 475C (fig. 8). The

of

the

by the

bitumens (fig. 9),

dots. The

oil shale was separated

arrows

6); (2) 300


first fraction, compared

showed numerous

indicate

pristane and

coinci

phytane,

Quarterly

228

Oll_ SHALE

Colorado School

of the

Mines

of

FRACTION

chromatogram

FID 32

fraction

thermal

25to300c

IOO

AT:i2C/Mirsi

,25

TO 320C

200
DEGREES C

Figure

6. Chromatogram of

25 to 300C thermal fraction

first fraction chromatographically

The

( fig. 9 )

The

arrows mark pristane and

of

34.7

resembles

the

phytane,

left to

gal/ton oil shale.

bitumen

extract

right.

OIL SHALE

FRACTION

CHROMATOGRAM, SAME SAMPLE


300 TO 370C
FID: 32

THERMAL FRACTON

IOO

AT: I2C/MIIM..25 TO 320C

C20
CIS.
_,_

JIfwJJ
i

KA

i!

i
C25

u>W
i

200

300

IOO

DEGREES C

Figure 7. -Chromatogram

This

the increased

is the
the

of

was recorded

300 to 375 C thermal fraction

from the

abundance of

right shoulder on

first

thermal

remains of

the

C18,

fraction.

lower

the

of

34.7 gal/ton oil shale.


for figure 6. Note

sample used

molecular weight materials.

Phytane

much of which was removed with pristane

in

Recoverable Oil

OIL

SmAlE

229

Thermal Analysis

by

FRACTOf

CHROMATOGRAM SAME SAMPLE


370 TO 47SC THERMAL f^RACTOM
,

FID'

126

OO

&T

i2Cv>iim.2S

^O 320C

M*

200
DEGREES C

Figure 8.-Chromatogram of 375 to 475 C thermal fraction of 34.7 gal /ton oil shale.
This chromatogram, recorded from the remains of the sample used for
figure 7, shows primarily the decomposition of kerogen. Much of light

hydrocarbon fraction from


of kerogen.

retorted

shale

results

from the cracking

ExTBAC"

BENZENE
F O

oil

IOO

iTl2C/MiN,2,-0 32:

200
DEGREES C

Figure

benzene

9. Chromatogram of the
mark

peaks

coincident

with

Except for the first two


peak.

C18

retention

is the left

indices.

The dots and arrows


in the first thermal fraction (fig. 6).

extract of oil shale.

those

solvent

peaks,

phytane

shoulder of phytane.

is the

Pristane

and

most

C17

prominent

have

similar

230

Quarterly

respectively, in

Colorado School

of the

order of

increasing

index. A

retention

Mines

of

subsequent

investi

conclusively demonstrated that the 25 to 300 C thermal fraction


is equivalent to the benzene extract. Relative to subsequent thermal frac
gation*

tions, there
fraction.
The

heating

was

an

the

fraction from 300

thermal

second

sample

same

hydrocarbons C15

abundance of

prominent peaks were unidentified.


as confirmed

by

Furthermore,

the low

indices

retention

and

the information available,

they

by
two

were not pristane and phytane

with

spiking

linear hydrocarbons.

which

were

relatively

linear hydrocarbons. Based

were not

appeared

in this

fraction. The

thermal

molecular weight materials

in this fraction

more prominent

They

greater

to 375 C was obtained

for the first

used

and

to arise

on

from the decomposition

preliminary decomposition of the kerogen.


The third thermal fraction from 375 C to 475 C was obtained

of phytane or pristane or

heating

the

features in this

the most

prominent

from

decomposition

the

Low

same sample again.

of

molecular weight

hydrocarbons

fraction, indicating they

arise

by
are

primarily

kerogen.

DISCUSSION

demonstrated that determination of oil in oil


MP-3 is faster and at least as accurate as the Fischer assay.
it

Experimentally,
shale with

the

The MP-3 technique

was

resembles

programmably heated.
complete, hence
gases

of

carbon

the

once

Fischer assay does not. Electronic


would improve the
accuracy and de

routine

the thermal output

time considerably.

crease calculation

Since the

calibrated, the MP-3 can give more


information
as it measures the hydrocarbon
accurate,

However,

whereas

evolved,

integration

more

the Fischer method in that the sample is

organic carbon

framework

are

to

consistent

hydrogen

Consequently,

method

that can

oil shale

industry

*D. Scrima

and

P.

be

where

Warren,

can

thermal analysis is

used on-site

many

results

to

be
a

kerogen hydro

applied

to all

relatively

shale

Green River

inexpensive, fast

to supplement other techniques in the

samples must

be

the

throughout the Green River oil

bed (Cook 1974), the MP-3 technique


shales.

ratio and

published.

be

assayed.

Recoverable Oil

by

Thermal Analysis

231

REFERENCES

Cook, E. W., 1974, Fuel: v. 53, p. 16.


Littlewood, A. B., 1972, Gas chromatography: principles, technique and application:
New York, Academic Press.
Goodfellow, Lawrence, Haberman, C. E., and Atwood, M. J., 1968, Modified Fischer
assay

Soc.,

equipment,

procedures

San Francisco Mtg., Apr.

and product

balance determinations:

Am. Chem.