Oil Shale:  A Solution to the Liquid Fuel Dilemma, ACS Symposium Series 1032, American Chemical Society 2010
Authors: Alan K. Burnham and Roger L. Day (American Shale Oil, LLC), Michael P. Hardy (AAI), and P. Henrik Wallman (American Shale Oil, LLC)

American Shale Oil LLC (AMSO) is one of three companies holding an Oil Shale RD&D Lease in Colorado from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.  AMSO is pursuing a unique strategy of recovering shale oil initially from the 2000-ft-deep illitic oil shale below the saline zone in order to isolate production from protected sources of ground water.  Our method of heat distribution is also unique.  We use refluxing oil to transport heat to the retort boundary, which will advance by thermo-mechanical fragmentation (spalling) due to the compressive stress caused by heating externally confined oil shale with an internal free surface.  Heat is provided from a horizontal heater in an “L” shaped well using a downhole burner.  Our commercial concept is to use panels of parallel horizontal heater and production wells about 2000-ft long and about 100-ft apart.  Each well would product about a million barrels over 2 to 4 years.  Such an approach will disturb only about 10% of the land surface area.


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Photo of the Exxon Colony oil shale mine with dozer in front of large pillarexxon mobil colony mine