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Fracturing Oil Shale With Explosives for in Situ Oil Recovery.

Miller JS; Walker CJ; Eakin JL
NTIS: PB 231 283 :100 pages
Smallscale surface tests were conducted to determine the feasibility of using a nitroglycerin-base explosive for creating rock fractures. Prior to underground testing, surface and near-surface tests with liquid explosives showed that explosions in sheetlike layers simulating underground fractures would propagate effectively. Successful surface experiments were conducted using layers of explosive placed between glass plates and explosive-saturated sand confined in small-diameter metal tubes. These tests demonstrated that nitroglycerin would detonate and the explosion would propagate in cracks as thin as 1/32 inch and through distances up to 12 feet. In a shallow field test, nitroglycerin was detonated in a vertical crack in limestone and produced extensive fracturing. Explosive fracturing tests were performed in oil shale formations on seven sites near Rock Springs, Wyoming. The research on oil shale formations demonstrated that nitroglycerin displaced in a natural or hydraulically induced fracture would detonate, and the explosion would propagate through the explosive-filled fracture. Shooting a pattern of wells in oil shale at 100-foot depth with wellbore charges of pelletized tnt developed a satisfactory interwell fragmented zone. Tests performed on other sites at depths to 385 feet caused fragmentation of rock around the wellbore and provided interwell communication. Methods used to evaluate the extent and degree of fragmentation in the explosively fractured oil shale are discussed.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
RI 7874
NIOSH Division
Source Name
NTIS: PB 231 283
Page last reviewed: October 29, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division