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Connectivity observed at Morocco oil shale pilot

San Leon Energy PLC said it has established connectivity between the two test wells in its Tarfaya oil shale project in coastal southern Morocco.

The company will identify an alternate drill site away from existing wells to test the extent of the play and the associated aquifers and is contemplating a hydrodynamic study of the basin. San Leon has opened a data room with geotechnical information and pilot plant engineering designs and is discussing participation with several interested parties.

Injection water is observed in three wells, including San Leon’s pilot Wells A and B and the preexisting Star 12 core hole (OGJ Online, June 23, 2011). The wells are hydraulically connected through a permeable zone at 191 m to 197.62 m below ground level. The Star 12 well provided, over a long period, a flow path from the upper aquifer, feeding the permeable zone below 184.8 m.

After cementation of the Star 12 well, the permeable zone acted as a closed system with depletion related to formation water production via air lift. Samples suggest that the water from the permeable zone is similar to the shallow aquifer and contains primarily sodium chloride (78-91% of dissolved solids by weight) with small amounts of magnesium, calcium, potassium, sulfate, and nitrate.

Despite establishing hydraulic connection between the two pilot wells, the company has decided not to risk contaminating the shallow water aquifer. Further analysis will be performed prior to resuming operations either at the same location or at an alternative site.

The company said it will continue to prove up the in situ extraction concept of the Tarfaya oil shale resources and rapidly progress toward operation of the processing pilot plant designed and built for the project.


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