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Oil-sands recovery by solvents has started on a trial basis; first loads now shipped.

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The first commercial shipment of 250 barrels of good-quality oilsands heavy oil has left the mining site in Utah, produced by a novel technique incorporating a mixture of solvents that themselves are fully recoverable and recycled.  The patented process, if it can be done with financial feasibility, promises to proved a path to recover large quantities of surface bitumen, resulting in a clean heavy oil and clean sand (which right now the developer is replacing at the original mining site as surface reclamation).  The process involves scooping up tar sands, placing into a kettle with solvents, then centrifuging to separate the oil, and separating the solvents from the oil.  The solvents are reused in the next batch.  The cleaned sand is trucked back to the mining area, which is next door to the recovery plant.  What is interesting is that previously, the process produced a light-oil grade, API 35; this time, the production was API 17, classified as a heavy crude  (with API 22 being the boundary line between light and heavy oils).   I am guessing that the first batch at API 35 was selectively removing light fractions from the bitumen and discarding the bulk of the oil.  This time around, the process is drawing a nice heavy-oil result that is still lighter than Venezuelan crude, yet heavy enough to work just fine in US Gulf refineries. As there is no rail spur to the plant, the oil was hauled by tanker truck, but hey, you have to start somewhere!   If the numbers work financially, then this places billions of barrels into usable reserves:

https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs070-03/fs070-03.html

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(edited)

Here's another link. It's Petroteq, maybe they will make a go of it.

I also found an estimated break even, depending on what they consider "high volume"

 

"Petroteq (PQE.VPQEFF), a small Canadian company working in the oil sands of Utah, has developed a breakthrough, closed-loop system, that extracts clean oil from dry oil sands - for as low as $28 a barrel in high volume settings- considerably cheaper than traditional methods."

 

https://ir.petroteq.energy/press-releases/detail/311

Edited by Justin Hicks
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(edited)

I am not familiar with the quality of Utah oil sands, Jan, but if it is similar to Canadian oil sands, the original oil is about 8°API gravity. Thus, if the recovered oil is 17°, then a portion of the heaviest oil was rejected. That is good. But where does it go? Does it remain in the mine? If so, that is good. Can you enlighten me more? Do they publish an assay of the 17° API oil?

Edited by William Edwards
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one of investors scams. Technology of using solvents (d-limonene, I believe) from oil shale (not to be mistaken with ultra-light shale oil) isn't new or revolutionary. Buyer beware.

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24 minutes ago, DanilKa said:

one of investors scams. Technology of using solvents (d-limonene, I believe) from oil shale (not to be mistaken with ultra-light shale oil) isn't new or revolutionary. Buyer beware.

I wonder if there's any foundation to this article of if it boils down to a "Greenpeace" tactic?

http://www.tarsandsresist.org/petroteq-is-a-scam/

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1 hour ago, DanilKa said:

one of investors scams. Technology of using solvents (d-limonene, I believe) from oil shale (not to be mistaken with ultra-light shale oil) isn't new or revolutionary. Buyer beware.

You could be correct. There's a lot of negative press out about Petroteq....😳

While the technology seems sound,( I read a couple of abstracts and some grant research by Professor Paul Painter of Penn State polymer sciences and engineering, even called and verified his VM) it appears Petroteq may not be on the up and up. A shame as I had mentioned them here a couple of months back.

But life goes on!

https://srsroccoreport.com/biggest-breakthrough-energy-investor-warning

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3 hours ago, William Edwards said:

I am not familiar with the quality of Utah oil sands, Jan, but if it is similar to Canadian oil sands, the original oil is about 8°API gravity. Thus, if the recovered oil is 17°, then a portion of the heaviest oil was rejected. That is good. But where does it go? Does it remain in the mine? If so, that is good. Can you enlighten me more? Do they publish an assay of the 17° API oil?

Hi, William, and the short answer is:  "I don't know."

No oil remains behind, but that does not mean that there is no separation, with the heavy asphaltenes being separated from the stock crude. How else would they get the sulfur off?  

There is no "mine;" the stuff is being effectively strip-mined, with the material taken off to the Converter, then the oil extracted with the solvents, then the clean sand being trucked back to the site for re-deposit and site restoration.  In my view, that sand has value, surprised they do not market the sand and go sell it. There is good money in sand. 

I would point out however that the current large-scale Canadian extraction seems to be the process of injecting superheated steam down into the oilsands located some distance below the surface, and possibly adding a diluent, then pumping the mixture up to the surface.  If the material is being extracted from different depths (one at the surface, one from depth) then it would be reasonable to assume that the oil would have different API numbers. The Idaho fellows are Canadians, and apparently their erstwhile President and financier is this rich fellow who owns a fuel oil distribution company in Ukraine.  I think he is in for ten million personally.  The Company has been issuing (cash sales) shares running between 34 cents and 42 cents U.S. to managers, with the Ukrainian buying the lion's share.  Also some trade creditors have been persuaded to take equity shares (for low prices) in lieu of cash for vendor invoices, which I view as a sign of problems in paying the bills.  The stock seems to have dropped from near ten bucks to 42 cents, which is a bath for the original investors and with more sales at pennies to the insiders, effectively the shares of the original investors are being heavily diluted. 

I have been studying the patents and I must say I am impressed.  I think these guys are onto something, but from a financing viewpoint the outside investors are getting diluted (thus hosed) and the insiders are being rewarded with the low share valuation.  Will the share value go way up?  Hard to tell.  It all depends on scale.  Remember, the oil business is a pennies business, oil is a commodity, and you need to move lots and lots of the stuff to make any money.  Sure is interesting technology, though.

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(edited)

On 3/19/2019 at 8:01 PM, Justin Hicks said:

While the technology seems sound,( I read a couple of abstracts and some grant research by Professor Paul Painter of Penn State polymer sciences and engineering, even called and verified his VM) it appears Petroteq may not be on the up and up.

Rather than denouncing Petroteq, let us say that all small development companies are chronically cash-starved.  What puts them under is the lack of cash to be able to continue to pay the bills while the de-bugging process is in play.  Once you get scale and are over this first hump, then you should start to see money being made.  Can Petroteq survive on only 250 bbl/day?  Probably not.  But it is a start.  

What makes the solvent technology interesting is that it is inherently modular;  you want to expand production, you build a second module.  That sure beats the refinery approach where you have to build the whole shooting match for say $13 billion in one shot!  Petroteq's operation has no rail line, and that requires the oil to be trucked, which is seriously pricey. Will a pipeline ever get built to the oilsands?  Not likely. So the challenge is to get a rail spur built to the site, and then to secure sufficient tankcars to be able to take away the product.  A RR tankcar should hold 785 barrels, so leasing sufficient tankcars from GATX should be doable. But somebody has to throw money at building that rail line, at $1.8 million a mile.  Petroteq does not have the money, so it has to haul by truck.  Ouch. 

This is a volume deal. Let us say that you have $100 million to play with.  You would have to generate net earnings after all costs, tangible and intangible, of $1 million a month at least to be able to support that investment. If you can clear $5 a barrel, then you need to process, and find buyers for, 200,000 bbls/month, or 6,000 bbls/day, of that oil.  You can move that with rail as long as you can generate that margin.  Is the margin really there?  Because if it isn't, then the whole project is a failure. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
changed "were" to "where"

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23 hours ago, Justin Hicks said:

I wonder if there's any foundation to this article of if it boils down to a "Greenpeace" tactic?

http://www.tarsandsresist.org/petroteq-is-a-scam/

Looks greens bulling to me but I have no time/desire to verify veracity of lease issue. My grief is with way technology is pitched and technology itself.

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