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Publication numberUS2444755 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 6, 1948
Filing dateJan 4, 1946
Priority dateJan 4, 1946
Publication numberUS 2444755 A, US 2444755A, US-A-2444755, US2444755 A, US2444755A
InventorsSteffen Ralph M
Original AssigneeSteffen Ralph M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for oil sand heating
US 2444755 A
Images(1)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

R. M. STEFFEN APPARATUS FOR OIL .SAND HEATING Filed Jan. '4, 1946 APPARATUS FOR 6H4 S Ralph M. Stefien,

d, 19%, fies No. 639,125

(Cl. N1?) pplication This invention relates to an apparatus for oil sand heating.

The primary object of this invention is to pro vide a novel method and apparatus for augmenting the yield from oil wells.

An important object of the invention is the provision at a method and apparatus which is applicable toerdsting wells to renew or increase this output, or which may be employed with euual facility in low yield shale and oil sands and in fields where normal procedures for development of the oil deposits are not practicable.

Aiurt ner object or the invention is the development oi a simple method and apparatus which shall conctu'rently condition the oil strata tor increased oil "flow and effect an increased output from the oil field.

an additional object of the invention is the provision of a novel method of heating the oil sands surrounding a well by the initiation and maintenance or a substantially constant gas flame therein whereby the oil in said sands is occluded by the resulting heat and pressure of the expanding gaseous products of combustion to adjacent wells for recovery therefrom.

A further object of the invention is the provision of simple and effective apparatus for carrying the method into effect.

A still further object of the invention is a novel method of treating an oil sand strataby forcing heated gases under pressure therethrough from within a well, thereby applying gaseous pressure to said strata for driving the oil away from the well for recovery in adjacent wells, and wherein the gas pressure is variable and with corresponding variation in the temperatures thereof whereby the oil in the sand strata may be re-iormed for subsequent recovering of the products thereof from adjacent wells.

A still further object of the invention is the provision of means forming an insulated, sealed combustion chamber in the bottom portion or a well casing which extends into an oil sand strata; which casing is provided with perforations in its cylindrical wall, and continuously admitting combustible charges or gas and air into said chamber, together with means for intermittently projecthas a flame into said chamber for efiecting and maintaining continuous ignition and burning of the combustible charges introduced continuously within the chamber whereby the pressure developed therein by the expanding burning charges, plus the internal pressure in the well, drives the resulting heat outwardly through the perforations and into and through the surrounding oil lid 2 sand strata for forcing the dormant oil therein to flow toward adjacent wells for recovery therefrom.

With the above recited and other objects in view, the invention is set forth in the following specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawing, wherein- Fig. 1 is a vertical sectional view somewhat diagrammatic in nature and illustrating the application of the invention in accordance with a preferred embodiment thereof;

Fig. 2 is a broken top plan view of the structure illustrated in Fig. 1.

Referring now in detail to the drawing, the numeral it designates a cylindrical casing extending down through and into an oil bearing sand strata S. The casing it is provided with a top closure plate ii and is also provided near its lower end with perforations it in its cylindrical wall for escape of combustion gases G from within the casin to the oil sand strata S. This lower end portion of the casing it is partitioned from the upper portion by a packing member iii to provide a combustion chamber C later to be described.

A plurality, preferably three, of pipes id, id

and it extend downwardly through the top clo sure plate ii and into the casing iii with their lower free ends evenly terminating within the combustion chamber and below the top of the oil sand strata S, as illustrated. These pipes it, it and it are preferably closely disposed and extend through the suitable insulating and packing member it forming the top of the combustion chamber C. Thus, the interior of the casing it, below this packing member iii, provides a combustion chamber with the free ends of the pipes l3, it and ill protruding into the upper end thereof.

The pipes l3 and ii are respectively provided with suitable regulating valves ii and it, and the pipe i5 is provided with a back check valve it, the latter pipe being further provided intermediate the valve ill and closure plate M with a suitable ignition means such as a spark plug 28 which may be incorporated in any suitable ignition circuit. The pipe it is preferably provided with a. pressure gage and relief valve indicated at it and 2H, and a vent pipe 2'2 is provided in the top closure plate ll permitting the escape of gases that may accumulate above pack.- ing l6 to the atmosphere. Furthermore, a meter it may be provided in pipe 113 beyond valve ll, as indicated.

While the pipes it, it and is are disclosed as having closely disposed lower free ends, such ends may communicate with a suitable unit burner.

In the operation of the structure disclosed, a suitable gas is constantly admitted through pipe II, which is regulated in its flow by means of valve l1, and discharged into-the upper end of the combustion chamber. Air or other combustion supporting medium is likewise constantly admitted through pipe [4 to the combustion chamber C, the flow of which is controlled by valve II. A mixture of gas and air, in proper combustible proportions, is admitted through pipe I! past the check valve 19 to the combustion chamber adjacent the discharge ends of pipes i3 and H.

When the pipe 15 is filled with the combustible gas and air mixture to the lower end thereof or slightly thereafter, the valve I9 is closed, plug 20 is energized to ignite the mixture with the result that a flame travels down the pipe l and upon reaching the lower end thereof insures certain ignition of the gas and air issuing from pipes i3 and 14 which become mixed for eflicient her C may be obtained by admission of the gas 1 and air through pipes i3 and I4 at higher pressures whereby the oil within the sand strata may combustion. The ignition within the chamber is like any gas burner, and the hot combustion gases G will be forced through the perforations i2 into and through the oil sand strata S, as indicated by the arrows in Fig. 1.

Due to the continuous ignition of the constantly supplied combustible charges within the chamber 0, the heated gases G generated therein will be driven constantly therefrom and further through the oil sand strata S with the resultant heating of all of the oil therein and driving of the same to adjacent wells for recovery therefrom. The combustible mixture traveling through pipe i5 must be rather rich to ensure the travel of a flame through the pipe if it be of any substantial length. Alternatively, other suitable ignition means may be introduced through pipe ii.

The pressure relief valve 2m may be adjusted for any desired maximum pressure within the chamber C or may be employed to vent the chamber when desired. Higher pressures with correspondingly higher temperatures within the chambe cracked or re-formed and the products thereof recovered from adjacent wells.

Having thus described my invention and in whatmanner the same may be carried into practice, what I claim is:

1. The combination of a bore extending into an oil bearing strata, a casing having a per-- forated section at its lower end, an insulating and packing partition in said casing above the perforated section forming a chamber freely communicating with the face of said strata, a plurality of parallel valved conduits extending into said bore and through said partition and tarminating adjacent each other in said chamber. means for separately introducing the constituents of a combustible mixture through two of said conduits, means for introducing a combustible mixture through a third of said conduits, means for intermittently ignitingsaid latter mixture above said casing for igniting and maintaining combustion of said constituents in said chamber. v

2. The combination of claim 1 including means for limiting the maximum pressure in said chamber including a pressure relief valve in one of said conduits.

RALPH M. STEFFEN.

I REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the

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Referenced by
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US2584605 *Apr 14, 1948Feb 5, 1952Frederick SquiresThermal drive method for recovery of oil
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Classifications
U.S. Classification166/59
International ClassificationE21B36/00, E21B36/02
Cooperative ClassificationE21B36/02
European ClassificationE21B36/02