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Oil Shale Industrialization in Brazil-Petrosix Technology

Waldir Pedro Martignoni and W.J.B. Rodrigues. Petrobras, AB-RE/TR/OT, Ave. Chile 65, Rio de Janeiro, 20031-912, Brazil

Oil Shale Industrialization in Brazil - PETROSIX Technology

W. P. Martignoni(1), and W. J. B. Rodrigues(2) (1) PETROBRAS/AB-RE/TR/OT – Ave. Chile, 65 – 20031-912 – Centro – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. martignoni@petrobras.com.br (2) PETROBRAS/UN-SIX – 83.900-000, São Mateus do Sul – Pr. Brazil. washingtonr@petrobras.com.br

Due to the new scenario of crude oil prices, alternative energy sources are on the road again, among them Shale Oil is the most alike petroleum oil in the world. Oil Shale reserves are spread all around the world in considerable amount but they are different among them based on their origin, geological formation, age and several other features. Most of them are lean rocks containing immature organic matter. However it is possible to process them in order to get liquid, gaseous and solid fuels. The quality and quantity of produced fuels depend not only on the shale properties but also on the retorting process. Each Shale performs differently on different processes. Some Shales are easy to retort, demanding low energy, others are difficult, others more difficult demanding high energy.

PETROBRAS started its Oil Shale process development in 1953, the PETROSIX process which was developed and tailored to Irati Oil Shale formation, from bench scale, pilot plant and demonstration unit to an Industrial scale Unit, which is in a successfully commercial operation since 1991. Nowadays this unit is processing 260t/h of Irati Formation Oil Shale as design capacity. The main equipment consists of Shale top in, bottom out counter flow reactor, an 11m inside diameter vessel. The large experience acquired during the development and operation of the PETROSIX technology allows PETROBRAS to be one of the leaders on this field.

The present work describes the main characteristics of the facilities and shows the evolution of the most important performance parameters, besides presenting the most remarkable aspects of product characteristics, environment issues and the applicability of this technology to other Oil Shales around the world.