Red Leaf Announces Acceleration to Technology Optimization and Adjustment to Construction Schedule for Oil Shale Commercial Demonstration Project
Red Leaf Resources, Inc., an oil shale development company with proprietary technology and significant resources under lease in Utah and Wyoming, today announced an adjustment to the construction schedule of its commercial demonstration project in anticipation of technological improvements that will result from design optimization work already underway.
Red Leaf and its major partner agreed this week to accelerate commercial technology optimization for the Early Production System (EPS), the first commercial demonstration project of Red Leaf’s EcoShale® technology. In part, this decision is the result of the low commodity oil price environment as well as recently identified efficiencies and engineering advances that may be utilized in the commercial demonstration project.
“This is an acceleration of design optimization and an adjustment to the construction schedule to allow for incorporation of the design improvements,” said Red Leaf CEO Adolph Lechtenberger. “Our joint venture agreement had anticipated the design optimization work to take place after completion of the EPS, but we have an opportunity to include the second generation commercial technology sooner rather than later. These enhancements will improve the economics of the Ecoshale® technology in the lower crude price environment. ”
Some site activity will continue while Red Leaf advances engineering on certain elements to further optimize the second generation capsule design.
“It is important to note that the joint venture financial commitments remain solidly in place,” continued Lechtenberger. “It’s also worth noting that we still anticipate being the first oil shale developer to reach commercial viability in the U.S.”
Environmental Groups Agree to Drop Appeal of Large Mining Operation Permit Awarded to Red Leaf Resources by Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas & Mining
SALT LAKE CITY – Red Leaf Resources and a coalition of environmental groups led by Living Rivers have entered into an agreement that includes a joint request for dismissal of an appeal filed by Living Rivers over a permit granted by the Division of Oil, Gas & Mining for Large Mining Operations on a Red Leaf’s commercial demonstration project in Eastern Utah.
In 2012, Red Leaf received a Large Mining Operation (LMO) permit from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining (DOGM), contingent upon a Ground Water Discharge Permit from the Division of Water Quality. In March 2012, Living Rivers filed a challenge to the LMO the DOGM Board. In December 2013, Red Leaf received the DWQ permit. On April 8, 2014, DOGM issued to Red Leaf a Notice of Final Decision that the LMO permit was in full force and affect. On May 6, 2014, Living Rivers filed an amended motion with the Board of DOGM in connection with the previous challenge. Now, both parties are asking that the challenge be dismissed.
Because Red Leaf has a high level of confidence in the EcoShale® capsule design and engineering, which was proven in a 2009 field pilot, the company was able to offer an accommodation that will satisfy Living Rivers’ concern. The environmentalists’ primary concern is over impact to ground water that they fear might result from the oil shale extraction process. However, monitoring systems including those for ground water have been integrated into the design of Red Leaf’s commercial demonstration project. Red Leaf previously offered to share water monitoring data with the Division of Water Quality. Under the agreement that will remove the LMO challenge, Red Leaf will also share monitoring data with Living Rivers.
Regarding this stipulated agreement, Red Leaf CEO Adolph Lechtenberger said, “We intend to demonstrate to state officials that our capsule design prevents any potential impact on ground water. We will be glad to share that data with those who have expressed concern over the integrity of our capsule design.”
“Red Leaf’s patented EcoShale process was designed specifically to address the environmental concerns over traditional oil shale extraction methods,” continued Lechtenberger. “Our process requires less energy, uses less water and has a lighter environmental impact than any oil shale process anywhere in the world.”
Red Leaf’s initial capsule is expected to produce more than 300,000 barrels and will be the first commercialization of oil shale in North America. This is a significant step for the oil shale industry. The Green River Formation -- which underlies Utah, Wyoming and Colorado -- is considered the richest deposit of oil shale resource in the world. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the formation holds more than 3 trillion barrels of oil, with more than 77 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Uinta Basin alone.
Now Fully Permitted, Red Leaf Prepares for Commercial Production of Oil Shale
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Division of Water Quality has issued a Construction Permit to oil shale development company Red Leaf Resources for its EcoShale® production capsule. Red Leaf now has all required permits in place and is poised to launch a 300,000 barrel commercial demonstration project in Uintah County, Utah.
Red Leaf’s initial capsule will be the first commercialization of oil shale in North America. This is a significant step for the oil shale industry given that the Green River Formation -- which underlies Utah, Wyoming and Colorado -- is considered the richest deposit of oil shale resource in the world. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the formation holds more than 3 trillion barrels of oil, with more than 77 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Uinta Basin alone.
“Unlike traditional oil shale retorts which require a lot of energy, use a lot of water and produce significant emissions, Red Leaf’s EcoShale extraction process was specifically designed to address the environmental challenges associated with oil shale development,” said Red Leaf CEO Adolph Lechtenberger. “There are more than 20 U.S. patents on the EcoShale technology, which extracts oil with lower energy consumption, lower emissions, lower water use and less environmental impact than any oil shale technology deployed in the world today.”
“In addition to having less environmental impact, the EcoShale process develops a much higher quality product than traditional oil shale production. Our oil is equal to or better than the industry benchmark of light, sweet West Texas Intermediate crude,” Lechtenberger continued. “At today’s oil prices, the economics of EcoShale are very good.”
Oil Shale vs. Shale Oil
Oil shale is often confused in the media with shale oil and shale gas production. When traditional oil and gas is extracted from shale rock formations like those in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas, it is correctly called shale oil and shale gas, not oil shale. Such extraction process involves drilling for the resource. Hydraulic Fracturing or “fracking” often used when drilling for shale gas and shale oil.
By contrast, oil shale development is the process by which a solid organic material rich in hydrocarbons called “kerogen” is converted to crude oil, condensate and natural gas through the application of heat. All traditional oil and gas was once kerogen. Over tens of millions of years, heat from the earth’s core caused deposits of kerogen to transform into oil and natural gas. Modern oil shale production simply speeds up the natural process of turning kerogen into oil and gas, either by mining the ore and heating it at the surface or heating it underground (in-situ). EcoShale is a surface mining and processing technology.
Contact: Jeff Hartley