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Methods and Evaluation of Explosive Fracturing in Oil Shale.

Miller JS; Nicholls HR
NTIS: PB 227 350 :22 pages
The Bureau of Mines developed methods for fragmenting oil shale formations with chemical explosives to prepare oil shale for in situ retorting and to evaluate the extent of fragmentation by various methods. A combination of three methods of explosive fracturing was used: (1) the displacement and detonation of a liquid chemical explosive in a natural fracture system; (2) the use of 60-pct dynamite to relieve stress conditions of the rock around the wellbore; and (3) the use of pelletized tnt in a series of wellbore shots to fragment the oil shale. An attempt was made to seal or grout around the fragmented oil shale by drilling 67 holes and displacing approximately 200 bbl of neat cement in the fracture system to aid in evaluating the fragmented zone. The primary evaluation method was the recording of seismic waves to delineate the fragmented zone based on arrival time, amplitude, and record quality. The data indicated the extensively fragmented zone was approximately 95 ft in diameter and 70 ft thick. Results of other methods of evaluating fractures--airflow tests, coring of the expected fragmented zone, elevation measurements to indicate overburden crowning, and surveys with high-speed camera, impression packer, and down-hole camera--agreed with and supported the data from seismic measurements. Further tests are needed to determine when a zone of oil shale is effectively fragmented for efficient in situ retorting.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
RI 7729
NIOSH Division
Source Name
NTIS: PB 227 350
Page last reviewed: October 29, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division