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Heating tar sands formations to visbreaking temperatures

United States Patent

December 22, 2009
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. The heat may be controlled so that at least a majority of the section reaches an average temperature of between C. and C., which results in visbreaking of at least some hydrocarbons in the section. At least some visbroken hydrocarbon fluids may be produced from the formation.
Karanikas; John Michael (Houston, TX), Colmenares; Tulio Rafael (Houston, TX), Zhang; Etuan (Houston, TX), Marino; Marian (Houston, TX), Roes; Augustinus Wilhelmus Maria (Houston, TX), Ryan; Robert Charles (Houston, TX), Beer; Gary Lee (Houston, TX), Dombrowski; Robert James (Houston, TX), Jaiswal; Namit (Houston, TX)
Shell Oil Company (Houston, TX)
11/ 975,676
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.