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Oil Recovery From Shale With Nuclear Generated Heat

[+] Author Affiliations
Gary M. Sandquist

Applied Science Professionals, LLC, Salt Lake City, UT

Jay F. Kunze

Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID

Vern C. Rogers

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Paper No. ICONE16-48188, pp. 785-789; 5 pages
  • 16th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 1: Plant Operations, Maintenance, Installations and Life Cycle; Component Reliability and Materials Issues; Advanced Applications of Nuclear Technology; Codes, Standards, Licensing and Regulatory Issues
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, May 11–15, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4814-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3820-X
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Shell Oil Corporation has developed an in-situ process for shale oil recovery that uses electric heaters to heat oil shale deposits and produce chemical reactions within the shale that can liberate the shale-oil. The major production expense is electrical power used to heat the shale. Significantly, small mobile nuclear reactors are now under development and testing that could provide high-temperature working fluids (both gaseous and liquid) at lower unit energy cost to replace current electrical heating. Nuclear generated steam is particularly cost effective and technically attractive for oil shale recovery. Estimates are that US oil shale deposits could be made to produce about 2 million barrels of oil per acre ($200 million/acre of oil at $100/barrel) if properly processed using high temperature steam. Furthermore, a these small nuclear reactors could be delivered by heavy haul truck, carefully buried for adequate shielding and safety, remotely operated, and moved as needed to process large oil shale fields.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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