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Heating tar sands formations while controlling pressure

United States Patent

7,644,765
January 12, 2010
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
Methods for treating a tar sands formation are described herein. Methods may include heating at least a section of a hydrocarbon layer in the formation from a plurality of heaters located in the formation. A pressure in the majority of the section may be maintained below a fracture pressure of the formation. The pressure in the majority of the section may be reduced to a selected pressure after the average temperature reaches a temperature that is above 240.degree. C. and is at or below pyrolysis temperatures of hydrocarbons in the section. At least some hydrocarbon fluids may be produced from the formation.
Stegemeier; George Leo (Houston, TX), Beer; Gary Lee (Houston, TX), Zhang; Etuan (Houston, TX)
Shell Oil Company (Houston, TX)
11/ 975,713
20080277113
October 19, 2007
GOVERNMENT INTEREST The Government has certain rights in this invention pursuant to Agreement No. ERD-05-2516 between UT-Battelle, LLC, operating under prime contract No. DE-ACO5-00OR22725 for the US Department of Energy and Shell Exploration and Production Company. The Government has certain rights in the invention pursuant to Agreement Nos. SD 10634 and NFE 062050824 between Sandia National Laboratories (operating under Agreement DE-AC04-94AL85000Sa for the U.S. Department of Energy) and Shell Exploration and Production Company.