Assessment of hydrocarbon potential of oil shales from israel and canada

Both israel and canada have vast oil shale deposits. Israel alone has over 250 billion barrels. However, a significant energy-related knowledge gap exists in regards to resource assessments of numerous oil shale deposits potentially suitable for in-situ thermal recovery, which requires r&d proposed

Oil shales are immature source rocks classified as unconventional resources. The solid organic matter in the oil shale (kerogen) is the precursor of hydrocarbons and, depending on their types and hydrogen content, may produce oil or gas or both. The amount and composition of hydrocarbons produced as the source rocks are matured into the “oil window” depend on the quantity of various types of kerogens - the higher the hydrogen-rich kerogens, the more oil is produced. In order to produce hydrocarbons from immature oil shale, thermal processing is required to mature the kerogen. A new type of thermal processing, IEI’s in situ thermal recovery method, very slowly heats the oil shale in the subsurface and produces oil and gas using conventional wells. This in situ technology can produce hydrocarbons also from rich oil shale resources that are too deep to mine. Both Israel and Canada have vast oil shale deposits. Israel alone has over 250 billion barrels (Fig. 1, Fig. 2 and Table 1). However, a significant energy-related knowledge gap exists in regards to resource assessments (petrology and geochemistry of organic matter, environmental impact due to exploitation) of numerous oil shale deposits potentially suitable for in situ thermal recovery. Israel is a unique test bed for this new rapid assessment technology because its bituminous chalks were deposited in different basins and have different levels of maturity, ranging from completely immature in the coastal plan (Shfela basin) to mature and possibly over mature in the Golan Heights. In addition, variations in subsidence rates and geothermal gradients (e.g. rapid subsidence and moderate geothermal gradient at the Dead Sea graben versus slower subsidence but higher geothermal gradients in the Golan Heights) may have resulted in different effects on the kerogen maturation. Canada has multiple oil shale resources originating from various depositional environments exhibiting different types of kerogen (marinite, lamosite, torbanite, lacustrine). Up to date, there is a limited understanding as to the extent and quality of the oil shale resources across Canada. For instance, the quality of 7 out of 19 oil shale deposits across Canada is unknown. Therefore it is suggested that a systematic study of Israeli and Canadian oil shale deposits will include: • Determination of the organic matter content in the rock (%TOC) and its characterization (kerogen typing and composition). • Geological characterization of the oil shale basins, their biostratigraphic framework and paleo-ecology, and the parameters essential for oil shale exploration and assessment. • Environmental impact of oil shale exploitation (sulphur and nitrogen content, heavy metals). • Delineation of the area of oil shale deposits with possibility for economic oil production. • Data base development and filling the significant knowledge gaps. • Development of a novel rapid assessment tool for predicting the generation potential for different deposits and the effect of various production parameters (rate of heating, pressure) on the gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons using IEI’s thermal recovery process. Once the new rapid assessment technology is proven successful in the CIIRD project, F&G and IEI plan to form a Canadian company to explore and assess Canadian oil shale deposits suitable for the in situ thermal recovery process.
Project ID: 
8 832
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
3 360 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Coal and Hydrocarbons
Market Area: 
Enhanced Oil Recovery/Heavy Oil/Shale

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.