UK-based oil and gas explorer San Leon Energy has been awarded a two-year license by the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) in Morocco for a 36km2 block in the Timahdit oil shale deposit.
The company will evaluate the commercial viability of a surface retorting (process yielding shale oil through pyrolysis and vapor condensation) project.
San Leon said the awarded area holds an average of 99l/t shale oil in the rich layers, which is considered to be the highest in Morocco with less moisture content than many other international oil shale deposits.
Enefit Outotec Technology’s (EOT) recent analysis confirmed that the Timahdit oil shale has commercial potential using Enefit’s surface retorting process and further raw shale oil upgrading.
EOT has completed an initial evaluation study with the help of existing data to assess the commercial potential of exploiting Timahdit oil shale using the Enefit280 plant design, which processes up to 280 tons of oil shale per hour.
According to the study, an initial Enefit retorting unit producing 3,600BOPD of raw shale oil would suit the project.
Two additional Enefit units could be added to increase production up to 11,000BOPD, and would include synthetic oil upgrading and power generation facilities.
A large sample of the Timahdit oil shale could be collected for extensive evaluation in EOT’s laboratories in Frankfurt, Germany.
San Leon Energy executive chairman Oisin Fanning said, "Based upon the results of the recent analysis by EOT and current oil prices we are committed to a feasibility study evaluating the commercial potential of the Timahdit oil shale."
"Timahdit demonstrates San Leon’s commitment to establish a major shale oil project in Morocco," Fanning added.