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Publication numberUS3392105 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 9, 1968
Filing dateApr 15, 1965
Priority dateApr 15, 1965
Publication numberUS 3392105 A, US 3392105A, US-A-3392105, US3392105 A, US3392105A
InventorsKelly Joe T, Poettmann Fred H
Original AssigneeMarathon Oil Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Use of a soluble oil in the extraction of hydrocarbons from oil sands
US 3392105 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

9, 1968 F. H. POETTMANN ET AL 3,392,105

USE OF A SOLUBLE OIL IN THE EXTRACTION OF HYDROCARBONS FROM OIL SANDS Filed April 15. 1965 SOLVENT SOLVENT STORAGE TAR STORAGE IN VE N TORS SOLID WASTES FRED H. POETTMANN JOE T KELLY A TTORNEY/ United States Patent Oflice 3,392,105 Patented July 9, 1968 3,392,105 USE OF A SOLUBLE OIL IN THE EXTRACTION OF HYDROCARBONS FROM OIL SANDS Fred H. Poettmann and Joe T. Kelly, Littleton, Colo.,

assignors to Marathon Oil Company, Findlay, Ohio, a

corporation of Ohio Filed Apr. 15, 1965, Ser. No. 448,372 7 Claims. (Cl. 208-11) This invention relates to the recovery of hydrocarbons and more particularly to the recovery of hydrocarbons from oil sands.

Such sands represent a tremendous potential reserve of hydrocarbon. Estimates of the hydrocarbon content of the McMurray formation of the Athabasca area vary between 300 and 500 billion barrels of oil. This compares favorably with the current free worlds crude oil reserves of 400 billion barrels. Industry has taken several steps toward the recovery of hydrocarbons from the sands. In one process, the oil sands are contacted with steam and ammonia to reduce the viscosity of the tars and emulsify the hydrocarbon. The emulsified hydrocarbon separates from the sands and is recovered. This process can be carried out either in situ or in aboveground processing plants. In another approach, both cocurrent and countercurrent in situ combustion have been tried. The costs of these processes are quite high and, at the present time, the large scale recovery of hydrocarbons from the oil sand has not been effected.

US. Patent 3,057,404 teaches an in situ process wherein air, steam, and a cutting oil are injected into a subterranean formation to induce separation of the oil from the oil sands so as to allow the sand to settle downwardly. The separated oil is then removed.

The above method is confounded by subsidence and other problems. The subsidence causes bending and closure of well tubing. Soluble oils must be formulated which contain surfactants soluble in the crude and which will not precipitate from solution when contacted by ions in the crude. This is a problem in subterranean deposits as the ion content of the crude changes from place to place.

Applicants process overcomes some of the problems inherent in the prior art processes. The amount of extractant liquid required in the extraction processes is reduced and the corrosion-resistant metals are not needed as in the combustion processes.

Essentially, the process of this invention comprises contacting the oil sands with soluble oils, thereafter diluting the tar sand-soluble oil mixture with a solvent-diluent, and separating the sand from the resulting relatively low viscosity solution. The term soluble oil, as used in this specification and claims, refers to solutions of surfactants in non-polar solvents with the ability to emulsify Water when admixed therewith. For purposes of this invention, the term is also intended to include transparent emulsions. The substantially anhydrous soluble oils and transparent emulsions are well known and generally formulated from hydrocarbons, one or more surfactants or nonsurfactant surface-active materials, and a stabilizing agent which is usually an alcohol but which may be other semipolar compounds. Several suitable soluble oils are found in US. Patent 2,356,205. Other and preferred formulations are set out in copending US. patent application Ser. No. 324,216, filed on Nov. 18, 1963, by William B. Gogarty and Russell W. Olson. Obviously, the soluble oil must be stable to the oil and water in the oil sands and at process temperatures.

Essentially, our invention comprises a combination of separation and dilution steps which are to be carried out aboveground. In our preferred process, comminuted oil sands are contacted with a soluble oil to form a slurry in a mixer unit. The slurry is then mixed with a solvent-diluent and separated.

This process is more fully illustrated with reference to the accompanying drawing where conveyer 1 passes comminuted oil sands 2 into hopper 3. Comminuted oil sands 2 pass through star feeder 4, or other suitable valving mechanism, into slurry preparation tank 5. Soluble oil from storage tank 6 passes through valve 7 in line 8 to slurrypreparation tank 5 Where it is rapidly mixed with oil sands 2 by stirring devices 9. Normally, from at least about 0.1-10, and preferably at least from about 05-15, volumes of soluble oil per volume of oil sand produce a desired slurry. A mixture of four parts tar sand and one part of a soluble oil comprising straight run gasoline, isopropanol (about 4% and water (about 25%) creates a loose slurry on mixing. After a slurry of suitable viscosity, preferably from about 500 to about 50,000 cps., is prepared, it passes through valve 10 into dilution tank 11 Where it is mixed with solvent. Solvent from solvent storage 12 passes through valve 13 in line 14 into dilution tank 11 where it serves to further reduce the viscosity of the slurry. A mixture of four parts of the above loose slurry and one part straight run gasoline gives a solution which appears to have a viscosity approximating that of kerosene. Normally, from at least about 0.515 volumes of solvent are added per volume of slurry. The amount of solvent added depends upon the viscosity of the solvent, the temperature of the solvent and the slurry, etc. Solvents such as straight run gasoline, liquefied petroleum gases, xylene, isopropanol, dimethyl-formamide, furfural, phenol, etc., and combinations thereof, can be used in this process. When diluted to a desired degree, for example, from about 30 to about 1000 cps., the diluted mixtures pass through valve 15 into separator 16. Separator 16 is depicted as a cyclone separator but can be any desired liquidsolid separator. On separation, the sand and other solid wastes pass through valve 17 to a waste disposal means. The liquids pass from separator 16 through line 18 into distillation tower 19 where the light, low-boiling solvent is distilled from the mixture. The solvent is then recycled through line 20 to solvent storage 12. The bituminous bottoms are then removed to storage tank 1. From storage, the bituminous materials are transported to market, etc.

Temperatures, for example, up to from about 30 to about C., can aid in the desired separation. The use of heat, of course, would depend on its availability, solvent, soluble oil, etc., costs and the like. The optimum viscosities outlined as useful at various stages in the process will vary with the equipment and temperatures used in carrying out the process.

In a preferred embodiment of the above invention, a soluble oil which takes up water only poorly can be used to advantage. Such soluble oils are, of course, miscible with the oil from the oil sands. In this particular embodiment, large amounts of steam can be introduced into the solvent oil-oil sands mixture to effect the desired reduction in the viscosity of the mixture so as to aid in separating sands from the mixture. To further aid in the formation of the desired slurry, the oil sands can be preheated.

Now having described our invention, what we claim is:

1. The process for recovering oil from tar sand comprising contacting, in a mixing unit, a substantially solid tar sand with a soluble oil to form a mixture of tar, sand, and soluble oil; contacting the said mixture with sufiicient diluent fluid to form a lower viscosity solution; and separating the sand therefrom.

2. The process for recovering oil from tar sands comprising contacting, in a mixing unit, sized lumps of substantially solid tar sands with at least about 0.1-10 volumes of soluble oil per volume of tar sand to form a mixture of tar, sand, and soluble oil; contacting the said mixture with at least about 05-15 volumes of diluent fluid per volume of said mixture to form a relatively low viscosity solution of tar and diluent; and separating the sand therefrom. 7

3. The process for recovering oil from tar sands comprising agitating, in a mixing unit, a substantially solid tar sand with at least about 0.5l5 volumes of soluble oil per volume of tar sands to form a mixture of tar, sand, and soluble oil having a viscosity of from about 500 to about 50,000 cps.; contacting the said mixture with sufficient diluent fluid to form a relatively lower viscosity solution of tar and diluent and soluble oil; and separating the sand therefrom.

4. The process for recovering oil from tar sands comprising agitating, in a mixing unit, a substantially solid tar sand with at least about 0.515 volumes of soluble oil per volume of tar sand to form a mixture of tar, sand, and soluble oil having a viscosity of from about 500 to about 50,000 cps; contacting the said mixture with at least about 0.515 volumes of diluent fluid per volume of said mixture to form a mixture having a viscosity of from about 30 to about 1000 cps. at operating temperatures; and separating the sand therefrom.

5. The process for the recovery of oil from tar sands comprising contacting, in a mixing unit, sized substantially solid tar sand particles with a soluble oil to form a mixture of tar, sand, and soluble oil; contacting the said mixture with suflicient diluent fluid to form a relatively lower viscosity mixture; separating the sand from the relatively low viscosity mixture to form a substantially solidfree solution; separating the diluent fluid from the substantially solid-free solution; and contacting additional amounts of said tar, sand, and soluble oil mixture with the separated diluent fluid.

6. The process for recovering oil from tar sands com- 4 solid tar sand particles with at least about 0.1-10 volume of soluble oil per volume of tar sand to form a mixture of tar, sand, and soluble oil; agitating the said mixture with at least about 0.5-15 volumes of a diluent fluid per volume of said mixture to form a relatively lower viscosity liquidsolid mixture; separating the sand therefrom to form a substantially solids free liquid isolution; separating the diluent fluid from said solids free liquid solution; and contacting additional amounts of said tar, sand, and soluble oil mixture with the separated diluent fluid.

7. The process for recovering oil from tar sands comprising contacting, in a mixing unit, a substantially solid tar sand with at least about 0.515 volumes of soluble oil per volume of tar sands to form a mixture of tar, sand, and soluble oil having a viscosity of from about 500 to about 50,000 cps; contacting the said mixture with at least about 05-15 volumes of diluent fluid per volume of said mixture to form a liquid-solid mixture having a viscosity of about 301000 cps. at operating temperatures; separating the sand from said liquid-solid mixture to form a substantially solids free liquid solution; separating the diluent fluid from said solids free liquid solution; and contacting additional amounts of said tar, sand, and soluble oil mixture with the separated diluent fluid.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,050,289 8/1962 Gerner 2081l 3,082,822 3/1963 Holm et al. 166-9 3,126,952 3/1964 Jones 166-9 3,163,214 12/1964 Csaszar 2528.55

DANIEL E. WYMAN, Primary Examiner.

P. E. KONOPKA, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3050289 *Jun 27, 1960Aug 21, 1962Phillips Petroleum CoHeavy hydrocarbon recovery from petroliferous deposits by hydraulic washing
US3082822 *Nov 19, 1959Mar 26, 1963Pure Oil CoSecondary recovery waterflood process
US3126952 *Nov 26, 1962Mar 31, 1964 Waterflooding method
US3163214 *Nov 13, 1961Dec 29, 1964Pure Oil CoSolvent-waterflood oil recovery process
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3459653 *Jul 18, 1966Aug 5, 1969Shell Oil CoFiltration of solvent-water extracted tar sand
US3490532 *Dec 18, 1967Jan 20, 1970Texaco IncRecovery of low-gravity viscous hydrocarbons
US3581823 *Jun 24, 1969Jun 1, 1971Texaco IncRecovery of hydrocarbons from subterranean hydrocarbon-bearing formations
US3593790 *Jan 2, 1969Jul 20, 1971Shell Oil CoMethod for producing shale oil from an oil shale formation
US3637018 *Dec 29, 1969Jan 25, 1972Fred H PoettmannIn situ recovery of oil from tar sands using water-external micellar dispersions
US3648771 *Dec 29, 1969Mar 14, 1972Fred H PoettmannIn situ recovery of oil from tar sands using oil-external micellar dispersions
US3800873 *May 28, 1971Apr 2, 1974Marathon Oil CoSitu recovery of oil from tar sands using oil-external micellar dispersions
US3802508 *May 28, 1971Apr 9, 1974Marathon Oil CoIn situ recovery of oil from tar sands using water-external micellar dispersions
US3941679 *Apr 12, 1974Mar 2, 1976Otisca Industries Ltd.Separation of hydrocarbonaceous substances from mineral solids
US4029568 *Sep 26, 1975Jun 14, 1977Minerals Research CorporationSpraying a chloroform solvent and then vaporizing
US4046668 *Jan 12, 1976Sep 6, 1977Mobil Oil CorporationDouble solvent extraction of organic constituents from tar sands
US4046669 *Jan 19, 1976Sep 6, 1977Blaine Neal FranklinSolvent extraction of oil from tar sands utilizing a trichloroethylene solvent
US4096057 *May 10, 1976Jun 20, 1978New Energy Sources CompanyApparatus and method for recovery of bituminous products from tar sands
US4486294 *Oct 17, 1983Dec 4, 1984University Of UtahProcess for separating high viscosity bitumen from tar sands
US5316664 *Oct 23, 1992May 31, 1994Canadian Occidental Petroleum, Ltd.Separation of sand from hydrocarbons using chemicals such as nonionic surfactants of ethoxylated alkylphenols and dialkylphenols
US5340467 *Oct 24, 1991Aug 23, 1994Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd.From tar sand; slurrying with ethylene oxide alkylphenol adduct, aeration
US7677397Jul 25, 2005Mar 16, 2010Suncor Energy Inc.Sizing roller screen ore processing apparatus
US7726491 *May 19, 2008Jun 1, 2010Suncor Energy Inc.Bituminous froth hydrocarbon cyclone
US7736501Jun 6, 2007Jun 15, 2010Suncor Energy Inc.System and process for concentrating hydrocarbons in a bitumen feed
US8136672Dec 23, 2009Mar 20, 2012Suncor Energy, Inc.Sizing roller screen ore processing apparatus
US8277642Jun 2, 2009Oct 2, 2012Korea Technology Industries, Co., Ltd.System for separating bitumen from oil sands
US8328126Sep 18, 2009Dec 11, 2012Suncor Energy, Inc.Method and apparatus for processing an ore feed
US8393561Nov 9, 2007Mar 12, 2013Suncor Energy Inc.Method and apparatus for creating a slurry
US8622326Oct 24, 2011Jan 7, 2014Suncor Energy, Inc.Method and apparatus for processing an ore feed
US8646615Jul 23, 2010Feb 11, 2014Suncor Energy Inc.Screening disk, roller, and roller screen for screening an ore feed
US8851293Mar 9, 2012Oct 7, 2014Suncor Energy, Inc.Sizing roller screen ore processing apparatus
WO2009075982A1 *Nov 10, 2008Jun 18, 2009Chevron Phillips Chemical CoRemoving bitumen from tar sands with a double solvent mixture comprising an oxygenated solvent and a petroleum distillate
Classifications
U.S. Classification208/390, 166/270.2, 208/415, 166/267, 208/430
International ClassificationC10G1/04, C10G1/00
Cooperative ClassificationC10G1/04
European ClassificationC10G1/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 13, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: MARATHON OIL COMPANY, AN OH CORP
Free format text: ASSIGNS THE ENTIRE INTEREST IN ALL PATENTS AS OF JULY 10,1982 EXCEPT PATENT NOS. 3,783,944 AND 4,260,291. ASSIGNOR ASSIGNS A FIFTY PERCENT INTEREST IN SAID TWO PATENTS AS OF JULY 10,1982;ASSIGNOR:MARATHON PETROLEUM COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:004172/0421
Effective date: 19830420