In 2009, we identified the EcoShale™ In-Capsule Process as being particularly suitable for the commercialisation of the oil shale Leases and in particular the Holliday Block, which lies approximately 15 miles north-east of Red Leaf Resources’ Seep Ridge site where the geology and overburden are similar. We continued to monitor Red Leaf’s developments closely and on 24 March 2010 we entered into the Licence Agreement with Red Leaf which enables TomCo to employ the EcoShale™ Process to develop the Holliday Block and provides the Company with access to Red Leaf’s licensed technology and expertise.
The EcoShale™ In-Capsule Process was designed and developed by Red Leaf Resources for application initially to the oil shales of the Green River Formation.
Source: Red Leaf Resources
The EcoShale™ In-Capsule Process is both environmentally sensitive and simple. Oil shale is mined and placed in a series of large clay-lined “capsules”. Expendable heating pipe loops are placed in the capsule with the oil shale. External blowers are used to force the hot flue gas from natural gas burners through the pipe loops to heat the oil shale. Heating oil shale to recover oil and gas is a long proven and reliable process.
Collection pipes are located at the top and bottom of the capsule to recover wet gas and oil respectively. Upon depletion, the pipes in the capsule are sealed to prevent water contamination and the capsule is either stacked with another capsule on top, or it is covered with top soil and seeded with native vegetation. The key design challenge is extracting the oil and gas from the capsule.
Source: Red Leaf Resources
The technical viability of the EcoShale™ In-Capsule Process has been demonstrated at Seep Ridge with a pilot run conducted in Q4 2008 – Q1 2009. The pilot results have been encouraging and indicative of future commercial success. Red Leaf’s focus is on executing the Early Production System (‘EPS’) phase of its joint venture with Total. The goal of the EPS is the construction of a large scale capsule.
In terms of mine design, a “truck and shovel” method is deemed to be the best approach. The EcoShale™ In-Capsule Process relies on supplies of natural gas for furnace fuel and diesel fuel for excavating and trucking vehicles. As the implementations unfold and more data are collected during the first stages of development, it may deemed possible to use gas generated from the heating process as fuel for heating adjacent modules and for generating electricity. The water consumption in the EcoShale™ In-Capsule Process is not significant to raise any concerns in sourcing and handling.