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In Situ Hydrocarbons Production From Oil Shale Resources in Qusier-Safaga District, Egypt: Developing Techniques

Abstract

Egypt is facing an excruciating energy crisis. One of the solutions to such a crisis is by developing the tremendous oil shale resources that exist in the Quseir - Safaga district in the Eastern Desert and is expected to contain around 12 billion barrels of oil and 24 trillion standard cubic feet of gas. This resource could be produced either by ex-situ or in-situ techniques; the latter being the subject of this paper. There are many problems facing the application of in-situ heating in the Quseir – Safaga oil shale resources. First of all, all the current world projects to produce shale oil by in situ heating methods are in test and pilot stages; none have demonstrated large scale commercial production. An additional problem is that not much data is available about the geology of such resources. To overcome such problems, and based on the scarce available data, a simple screening study is carried out in order to evaluate the applicability of the various methods of in-situ production of oil and gas. The most promising techniques that need deeper investigations are found to be Geothermic Fuel Cells (GFC), Radio Frequency (RF) heating, and EcoShale™ In-Capsule Technology. However, many problems are associated with their application. Solution of the many questions related to such problems could most likely come about by means of carefully monitored pilot-scale experiments in the field. However, performing such experiments in the deep formation would be highly costly. To help solve these questions, the research has modified upon existing techniques. The new techniques, namely Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) In-Capsule and Radio Frequency (RF) In-Capsule techniques, can be seen as combinations of the previously selected techniques but with modifications that could increase the process efficiency. Compared to other heating techniques, these techniques might save much money, help solve the problems and much facilitate the second generation field scale pilot in-situ experiments.