Petrobras has signed an agreement with Oil Shale Exploration Company (Osec) and Japanese investment and trading company Mitsui & Co. Ltd (Mitsui) under which the three will conduct a joint study on the feasibility of oil shale development project in Utah.
Petrobras will undertake a technical, economical and environmental commercial feasibility study testing its Petrosix oil shale technology (earlier post) on the resources controlled by Osec in Utah. Mitsui will provide advice concerning project management and promotion. Under this agreement, based on the result of the feasibility study and certain other conditions, Petrobras and Mitsui each obtained the right to acquire a 10% to 20% stake each in the project from Osec.
Petrobras uses a conventional production process in which the shale is mined, crushed and fed into a proprietary surface gas combustion retort for pyrolysis and processing. The Petrobras 11m vertical shaft Gas Combustion Retort (GCR) is the largest surface oil shale pyrolysis reactor currently operating.
The Petrosix oil shale processing technology has more than 30 years of successful commercial operation at Petrobras’ Unit in Sao Mateus do Sul, Parana State. Petrobras is also exploring the application of Petrosix technology in Africa and the Middle East.
Osec’s Utah oil shale project encompasses the lease of a oil shale property from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for oil shale research, development and demonstration and the purchase of more than 22,000 acres of privately-owned oil shale property in the Green River Basin of Utah. The combined lease and owned property provides Osec with ownership or rights to more than 30,000 acres of oil shale property, with a discovered resource base in the range of 3 billion barrels, according to Norwest Corporation estimates.