The path to commercial development involves a modular, step by step development process adopting the basic methodology of development – from exploratory and research and development, lab to field, research to commercial deployment etc.
The planning and executing of each step is stipulated by the success of its predecessor. Success means meeting the license terms and the technological and environmental goals. IEI expects the launch of commercial scale towards the end of the decade. The road to this milestone can be broken into two distinct stages, each comprised of two sub stages:
Resource characterization/Appraisal Study
Six geological survey wells - were drilled in selected locations in the license area. The survey wells enabled IEI's scientists to characterize the oil shale reservoir and the hydrological and geological structure. The data from those wells is used to characterize the cross section of the rock, to describe the thickness of the layers throughout the license area, and to examine hydrological, chemical, and physicals parameters.
Research analyses of the cores extracted from the oil shale layer – characterization of the cores using laboratory analysis. Examine the rock strength prior and after the heating process, and other hydrological, chemical, and physicals parameters. The extraction method in the laboratory is similar to the extraction method in the field and it allows our team to intensify its research and improve the process efficiency. The products' characteristics are also studied. This provides sufficient and reliable data for the planning of the next stage – the pilot.
the pilot is a small scale field test, as such, it focuses on the implementation of the technique in the local geology. The pilot is key part of the studying process. Combining the data received from the pilot and the geological research set the ground for planning the next stage. The pilot will examine:
The Pilot will produce roughly 500 barrels in total (up to 5 bbl a day). Movie demo can be seen here :
The development of a commercial project will require IEI to obtain a Lease (a long term right) under the Petroleum Law and to pass a statutory permitting plan under the Planning Law. The commercial stage can be broken to:
I. Demo - The Demo is an intermediate stage between the pilot and the commercial production. It is meant to provide the first stepping stone for the scale up process, by producing in a small scale and identical conditions to those of the commercial production. Planning and building of a demo facility with a capacity of 2,000 bbl per day will allow later on the scale up process. This facility is expected to run for long period of time prior to moving the next stage.
II. Scale Up to Commercial - the development of the commercial production facility will be based on the above motioned data and a vast variety of additional data sources (e.g., theoretical models, laboratory experiments, hydrological and chemical tests). Scale up from demo to full scale steady state production, the project will take several years to reach steady state and is expected to run through more than two decades. The commercial project's scale up will be conducted gradually and responsibly in cooperation with the relevant authorities.