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Publication numberUS1811561 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 23, 1931
Filing dateJan 13, 1927
Priority dateJan 13, 1927
Publication numberUS 1811561 A, US 1811561A, US-A-1811561, US1811561 A, US1811561A
InventorsRanney Leo
Original AssigneeStandard Oil Dev Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and means for working oil sands
US 1811561 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

yJune 23, 1931. RANNEY METHOD AND MEANS FOR WORKING OIL SANDS Filed Jan. 13, 1927 4 sheets-sheet 1 H fx w.

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June 23, 1931. L. RANNEY v Y 1,811,561

METHOD AND MEANS FOR WORKING'OIL SANDS 'Filed Jan. 1s, 192? 4 sheets-sheet ,2

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d0/DOOOO\OOOOOOOGOOOOO Oooooooooooooooc0060000000000 Lao Rumpf Snowdon v\\ NSMM v3 n L, RANNEY Y METHOD AND MEANS FOR WORKING OIL ySANDS Filed Jan. 15, 1927 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 `.ruim 23, 1931.

June 23, 1931. L. RANNEY METHOD AND MEANS FOR WORKINGA OIL SANDS Filed Jan. 13, 1927 4sheets-sheet 4` CQ vwmtoc Armen' A V LeoR 33u, hw 61u Patented 1931 u1u-T111) Ysx1."111sj LEo BLANNEY, or NEW roux, N. Y., AssIeNon'To STANDARD on. nrsvrznoPimm* oon- PATENT OFFICE PANY, .A CORPORATION F mamon Ann'mns ron woaxme oI'L sms Application filed January 13, 192'?. Serial No. 160,793. i

This invention relates toimprovements in the recovery of oil from the earth by mining methods of the general type described and claimed and 1,634,236 granted June 28, 1927.

accordance with the present invention, a gas adapted to facilitate flow of oil is forced into the oil sand in a manner to be described,

v and means are provided for the effective use of such gas and the collection of oil...

As described in the patents above ment1oned,the mining method involves the sinkmg of a shaft to a point adjacent an oil sand; the dr1v1ng ofv galleries from the shaft above or below the sand and. adjacent to it, but

spaced therefrom; the drilling of mine Wells into the sand, and the collection of oil flow- Vingrfrom the mine wells.

he present invention will lbe .fully understood from the following description read 1n connectlon with the accompanying drawings, in which y Fig. 1 is a vertical section through a mine gallryfor the collection of oil;

21s a transverse section on the line Fig. 3 is a diagrammatic vertical 'section' showing the lines of flow of gas and oil;

F1g. 4 is a diagrammatic plan view showene method of operating an oil field, and

g. 5 1s a view'similar'to Fig. 3, but showg a modified method of introducing a gas -intothe s and. Referring to the drawings, reference nu-v meral 1 denotes a luidftight seal between the cap rock 2 and nipples 5. The drilled openings 8, formmg extenslons of holes 6, tap the oil. sand and .form what I term mine'wells, Openings 8 epreferably enlarged at their ends by reaming or'blasting to Aform iiuidcolle'etf ing or distributory areas 9, as vsubsequently described. A

Referring' to the mine well installation shown at the-left of Fig. 1, .a gate valve 10 is fitted at the end of a nipple 5 and is connected witha cross-fitting 11. The lower arm of the cross is closed by a removable cap 11. The

' horizontal arms of the cross are connected to elbows 12 and 13, and these in turn lead into pipes v14 and l5 extending downwardly into' ,a trough 1 6 cut into the floor of the gallery.

The -pipe 15 is connected to an oil-collecting conduit 17 resting 'on the bottom of the trough. This conduit leadsto a separator (not shown) in whichoil may be separated from gas and water, if necessary, before'the oill is pumped to the earths surface. The

pipe 14 is connected with a gas-conveying pipe 18. 'Pipes 14 and 15 have .valves 19 and 20, respectively, so that eiljther or both' of these pipes may be shut oi.

YReferring to the construction shown at the right hand side of Fig. 1, the sealed nipple 5 and gate valve 1() are as above described, but

a. Tlftting 21 is used instead of the. crossvfitting 11. The lower arm of the T-iitting' has a removable cap 21. An elbow 22 leads fromVV the T-iitting vandis connected with a pipe 23 which discharges into the oilcollect ing conduit 17. This type of. equipment may be used exclusively for the withdrawal of oil, a'. separate fitting 5 being connected f to thegas line 18 onlyY (Fig.'3).

-It is generally desirable to form a mine gallery entirely around the area to be worked, for 'example a 40 acre "track, d1agrammat1cally shown in Fig. 4. In this figure, 24 denote'sla shaft sunk from the earths surface to a pointnear the oil sand, and the galleries l are extended from the shaft around the tract.' One 'ormore surfacewells 25 may be .drilled Within the tract for the purpose of in-l troducing an expulsive-agentto drive the Ordlnarily,

oil toward the mine wells. however, excellent recoveries-of ollv'can be obtained without the use of:surface wells.

- n Fig. 4 the series of mine wells is denoted by numeral26.

I Instead ofl introducingl the gas through the nipples 5, it may in some cases be desiropening 8 able to put it in at the top of the sand. For this purpose one or morepipes 27 preferably sealed in the sand and extending nearly tothe upper caprock 4 may be provided (Fig. 5)

The operation of the improved method is as follows, reference being made first to Figs. 1 to 4. The nipples 5 are sealed in place at frequent intervals throughout the gallery. When operating` around a square acre tract it is usually desirable to have 132 mine wells on each side, at distances of about 10 feet apart. A smaller number may of course be used, but the recovery of oil will not then be so complete.

After the nipples have been set in the cap rock, a ate valve 10 and a cross-fitting 11 or T-ttln 21 are attached to each. The cap 11 (or 21 is removed. A drill is inserted throu h the fitting and the open gate valve into t e niplple. Drilling proceeds until an as been made for a substantial distance into the oil sand. The drill is then withdrawn to-a point just below the gate valve, and this is closed.

The drill may now be removed without permitting fluids to escape into the gallery. After the drill is taken out, thev cap 11 (or 21') on the lower arm of the fitting is replaced. Drilling in this way is safe even when considerable pressure prevails in the sand.

In accordance with this invention, the How of oil is expedited by forcing into the oil sand a. scrubbing as, that is, one which has the effect of reducing the forces of surface tension which hold the oil in the sand. Inv addition, the scrubbing gas preferably has the i property of decreasing the specific gravity .and the viscosity of the oil. For this purpose I prefer to use natural gas saturated with gasoline vapors, but other gases having similar properties may be used. Air is not so desir-- able, either alone or as a carrier for gasoline vapors, since it increases the viscosity of the I oil. Casingheadgasoline plantvaporsmay be used alone, when they cany be obtained economically.

The first step in the use of the scrubbingv gas is the formation of an unexcavated drainage tunnel in the oil sand. As explained in Patent No. 1,634,236, above re` ferred to, such a tunnel isan area of facilitated oil How, generally paralleling the mine galleries. By means of heat, pressure, suction, or other expulsive agency, applied from the galleries, the oil sand adjacent them is caused to yield its oil to the mine wells. Into vthe evacuated areas in the oil sand more oil flows, and the extent of the unexcavated drainage tunnels is thus progressively increased. Y.

In the present case I prefer to use the scrubbing gas as the agency for forming the unexcavated 4drainage tunnel. To this end the scrubbing gas (which may be assumed to be natural gas saturated with gasoline vapors) is introduced through the nipples 5 at intervals; for example, every fourth or fifth nipple' may be used for this purpose, the others serving to collect the oil. It will be noted (Fig. 1) that the scrubbing gaspassesthrough pipe 18, branch pipe 14 (valve 19 being open and valve 20 closed), through the open gate valve 10, and thence into theoil sand through the nipple 5 and hole 8. Alternatively, the scrlgbing )gas may be supplied through pipes 5 ig. 3

The gas should be forced in under a pressure of about 10 to 100 lbs. or more per square inch, depending lon the difliculty ofdriving the gas through the particular sand being worked. The gas spreads out from the openings 8 into the sand and forms a continuous area saturated with gas. Throughout this area the oil is charged with gas and gasoline hydrocarbons and flows rapidly by gravity into the adjacent mine wells. The scrubbing gas iills the pores in the unexcavated drainage tunnel formed as just'described. As gas is continuously forced into the sand, the area saturated with gas extends. The line of advancing pressure is shown diagrammatically in Figs. 1 and 2. The oil coming under the iniuence yof the advancing gas is caused to flow, and travels toward the mine wells along the line of the heavy arrows. Theoil contains dissolved gas which may be recovered at the separator mentioned above.v Escape of gas as such may be substantially prevented by opening gate valves 10 only enough to permit passage of the streams of liquid oil.

When working along an extended line of attack from mine alleries, itis possible to maintain the scrubbing as in mostelicient condition for a considera le distance into the sand. The relatively slow pressure drop permits this. If it were attempted to inject the scrubbing gas from a surface well, the radial movement of the gas from this single point of attack would soon cause a great decrease in pressure. The capacity of the gas to hold gasoline vapors would be correspondingly diminished and the effectiveness of the gas would be destroyed for the most part.

If a satisfactory flow is established, the

valves 19 in pipes 14 may be closed, and the valves. 2O in pipes 15 opened. The latter pipes may then be used in the same way as the pipes 23 for the recovery of oil. Injection of gas through pipes 14 will be resumed when tending nearly upto the4 upper cap rock, as

shown in Fig. 5. l y

The success of the methods described depends in part u on the absence pf fissures ory reaksin the oil sand and cap rocks, which might vent the scrubbing gas. VAny such 'places should be sealed, if possible. The -usual sand is suiciently gas tight to respond satisfactorily to my method.

It is usually more advantageous t@ work from beneath the sand than from above.

However, the principles of tliepresent ini l vention are equally applicable to working from a gallery above the sand.

Various changes may be made inthe preferred embodiments described within the (scope of the appended claims, vin which it is my intention to claim all novelty inherent in the invention as broadly as the prior art permits.

I claim:

1.- In an installation for recovering oil from the earth by means of a mine gallery adjacent an oil sand,'but spaced therefrom the improvement which comprises a series of A pipes in the gallery and tapping the oil sand,

agate valve near the exposed end of certain of said pipes, an elbow connected to each said pipe below the gate valve, an oil-collecting pipe, and a connection between said elbow and said oil-collecting pipe. 2. In an installation for recovering oil i from the earth by means of a mine gallery adjacent an oil sand, but spaced therefrom, the improvement which-com rises av series of pipes in the gallery and tapplng the oil sand, across-fitting on the exposed end of certain of said pipes, two conduits connected to said'` crosstting, a pipe for supplying a scrubbing gas to one of saidconduits, and a separate' pipe for conveying oil from the other of said conduits. l

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 1n which valves -are provided in the conduits permitting either or both to be shut off.

4. Apparatus according.. to claim 2, in

i which a gate valve is provided between the cross-fitting and the pipe tapping the sand,

said gate valve being arranged to permit the introduction and withdrawal of a drill without allowing fluids to escape. into the gallery fromthe sand.

5; In the recovery of oil from an oil-bearing stratum, the improvement which comprises passing an agent facilitating oil flow in a stream adjacent the oil-bearing stratum but out of contact therewith, tapping ofpportions of the agent from the stream at frequent intervals and passing such portions into the stratum toform areas of facilitated ow therein generally paralleling the iiow of the stream, and collecting oil from points-near the bottom of the stratum and arranged in'- terlnediate the into the stratum.

In testimony that I claim the foregoing as my invention, I aix my signature. 'y


points vat which gas is passed

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2725106 *Dec 20, 1951Nov 29, 1955Ralph SpearowOil production
US4165903 *Feb 6, 1978Aug 28, 1979Cobbs James HMine enhanced hydrocarbon recovery technique
US4265485 *Jan 14, 1979May 5, 1981Boxerman Arkady AThermal-mine oil production method
US4607888 *Dec 19, 1983Aug 26, 1986New Tech Oil, Inc.Method of recovering hydrocarbon using mining assisted methods
US7543649Jan 11, 2007Jun 9, 2009Rock Well Petroleum Inc.Method of collecting crude oil and crude oil collection header apparatus
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US8307918Sep 28, 2010Nov 13, 2012New Era Petroleum, LlcHydrocarbon recovery drill string apparatus, subterranean hydrocarbon recovery drilling methods, and subterranean hydrocarbon recovery methods
US8474551Oct 12, 2012Jul 2, 2013Nep Ip, LlcHydrocarbon recovery drill string apparatus, subterranean hydrocarbon recovery drilling methods, and subterranean hydrocarbon recovery methods
US8534382Oct 12, 2012Sep 17, 2013Nep Ip, LlcHydrocarbon recovery drill string apparatus, subterranean hydrocarbon recovery drilling methods, and subterranean hydrocarbon recovery methods
US9408542Jul 22, 2011Aug 9, 2016Masimo CorporationNon-invasive blood pressure measurement system
US20060290197 *Jun 9, 2006Dec 28, 2006See Jackie ROil extraction system and method
US20080164020 *Jan 4, 2007Jul 10, 2008Rock Well Petroleum, Inc.Method of collecting crude oil and crude oil collection header apparatus
US20080169104 *Jan 11, 2007Jul 17, 2008Rock Well Petroleum, Inc.Method of collecting crude oil and crude oil collection header apparatus
US20080314640 *Jun 20, 2007Dec 25, 2008Greg VandersnickHydrocarbon recovery drill string apparatus, subterranean hydrocarbon recovery drilling methods, and subterranean hydrocarbon recovery methods
US20090183872 *Jan 23, 2008Jul 23, 2009Trent Robert HMethods Of Recovering Hydrocarbons From Oil Shale And Sub-Surface Oil Shale Recovery Arrangements For Recovering Hydrocarbons From Oil Shale
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U.S. Classification299/2
International ClassificationE21B43/18, E21C41/24
Cooperative ClassificationE21C41/24
European ClassificationE21C41/24