Dragon Shale has announced the start of construction of a new Oil Shale conversion and separation pilot plant.
Having been awarded a grant by USTAR, the Utah State Technology and Research initiative, Dragon is now moving its bench scale process to this next stage of testing. With this process Dragon will produce high value products from Kerogen Oil obtained from Oil Shale, disrupting existing Kerogen Oil industries.
The most abundant deposits of Oil shale, a type of sedimentary rock rich in organic compounds, are found in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Upon processing, the shale can be made to release these compounds as a mixture referred to as Kerogen Oil. One of the richest sources of Kerogen Oil is found in the Mahogany Zone of the Uintah Basin. Estimates place reserves here at over 71 Billion Barrels of Kerogen Oil.
Traditionally Kerogen Oil has been valued as a synthetic crude to make fuels; gasoline, diesel, etc. Refining Kerogen Oil in this way is expensive, polluting, water greedy and thus does not compete with natural crudes. Given the volatile nature of crude prices this has led to a series of expensive failed ventures.
Kerogen Oil is rich in chemicals that have high value in the petrochemical and related industries. Instead of destroying these chemicals to make fuels, Dragon intends to extract and separate them. Unlike fuels, these products are less sensitive to crude oil prices which are often subject to the influence of foreign governments. Dragon’s approach reduces the process plant size, is considerably more environmentally responsible and has minimal demand for precious water resources. Modular plants can be sited where the oil shale richness, infrastructure constraints and environmental sensitivities align.
With the new facilities now available in Vernal, Utah, Dragon will be able to determine the range of products to be extracted and further optimize its process technologies and economics.
Source: Company Press Release