Commercialization of eastern US oil shales - a review - Technical Papers, MINING ENGINEERING, Vol. 37, No. 12 December 1985, pp. 1381 -1385

Rajaram, V.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
V. Rajaram's paper does not accurately reflect the status of Eastern oil shale development as it stands today. Today, there are numerous firms and research organizations pursuing development of the Eastern oil shale resource. Details of the current projects can be found in the symposium proceedings for the 1985 Eastern Oil Shale Symposium held in Lexington, KY, in November 1985. Additionally, the comparison of the Paraho and HYTORT processes is invalid because the HYTORT process design used it not an accurate representation of the HYTORT process. I will briefly address this point. It is disconcerting to see the author reference hydroretorting work conducted at the Institute of Gas Technology (IGT) (circa 1978) in the introduction, which indicates hydroretorting (the HYTORT process concept) yields of up to 250% of the Fischer Assay oil yield, and then turn around and base the remainder of the paper on the 1981 "Synthetic Fuels From Eastern Oil Shale Report," which depicts the HYTORT process as yielding only 115% of Fischer Assay. Indeed, work conducted at IGT to 1981 indicates commercial oil yields for the HYTORT process would be in the range of 200% to 210% of Fischer Assay. A more thorough literature search by the author would have yielded a 1981 publication by Schora et al., entitled "Update on the HYTORT Process" presented at the Symposium on Synthetic Fuels From Oil Shale in Nashville, TN, October 1981. This paper thoroughly discusses the shortcomings of the referenced study with respect to the HYTORT process. For the interested reader, I can also recommend a June 1984 report entitled "An Economic Comparison of Five Process Concepts for Using Eastern Oil Shale," published by Los Alomos National Laboratory (LA-10106-MS, Parkinson et al., NTIS No. DE84-015981). This study applies a realistic HYTORT design (circa 1982) and indicates that HYTORT is the most econom┬Čical method of processing Eastern oil shales (about $20/bbl less than Paraho). Additionally, completion of the HYTORT feasibility study in June 1983 by Phillips Petroleum Co., Bechtel Group Inc., HYCRUDE Corp., and IGT has resulted in development of designs that will make the use of HYTORT on Eastern oil shales even more economic. HYCRUDE Corp., a second-tier subsidiary of IGT, is involved in commercialization and licensing of the HYTORT process and is active in efforts to develop the Eastern oil shale resource. As such, I am disappointed to see outdated material that has the potential for adversely affecting development of Eastern oil shale resources published in MINING ENGINEERING. I can only hope that this response will serve to mitigate any negative opinions that may have been formed. Today, activity in commercializing Eastern oil shales dominates the oil shale scene in the US and indicates a realization of the potential for these shales. Reply by V. Rajaram I appreciate the updates on the HYTORT process provided by R.C. Rex, Jr. I hope that Hycrude's work will lead to the funding of a pilot plant to demonstrate that yields of greater than 200% of Fischer Assay can be achieved in a commercial plant using eastern US oil shales.
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