San Leon begins construction at Tarfaya oil shale pilot plant in Morocco

Source: San Leon Energy

Developing an in-situ vapor extraction (IVE) process at its Tarfaya oil shale project in Morocco, San Leon Energy is has progressed the test pilot plant from the detailed engineering phase into the construction phase.

Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mining ("ONHYM") in June 2009, the Tarfaya Oil Shale Pilot Plant project has progressed from the detailed engineering phase to the construction phase. With the release of final "For Construction" revisions of Instrumentation Drawings, the Piping Layouts, Data Sheets, and Site Layout and Construction documents are now being used to progress the fabrication of pipe spools and equipment hook up arrangements.

The EIA report covering the Tarfaya Pilot Plant has now been accepted and approved by the Moroccan Ministry of Environment. This acceptance and approval of San Leon Energy's proposed development will now allow construction work to commence.

Construction of a new road across the desert from the main highway into the Pilot Plant site was completed in August 2010 in preparation for site clearance and construction activity. This road will allow the safe and secure passage of the large vehicles required to transport the construction machinery and equipment to/from the site in the coming months.

Process equipment manufacture is now complete and the equipment is being positioned in the correct configuration and alignment at Titan Flow Control's facility in Houston and pipe spool fabrication is in progress. Detailed engineering of the pipe spools together with preparation of pipe spool isometrics has also commenced.

The design of a high temperature surface wellhead has also progressed sufficiently to allow detailed engineering to commence. The aim will be to produce a prototype assembly to undergo qualification in Houston to prove up the high temperature seal arrangement. The in- situ vapour extraction (IVE) process is being developed by the San Leon team of engineers and specialists.

Investigation work associated with determining a suitable downhole sealing system within the injection and production wells is ongoing. Possible suppliers of suitable equipment and high temperature sealing systems are being determined.

The drilling programme, for the two wells to be drilled at the Pilot Plant, is still being reviewed along with local Moroccan drilling and support services. Rig availability in other areas of the world is also being investigated.

The hydraulic fracturing analysis study has now commenced at Golder Associates Ltd to assist San Leon Energy with understanding the possible natural fracturing possibilities that may be present within the Tarfaya Oil Shale formation. The analysis will also investigate and model fracturing conditions and requirements to establish the model for the Tarfaya conditions and well bore fracturing and integrity. The study will review further conditions to establish the equipment and consumables for carrying out the procedure.

The first shipment of equipment and materials for the Pilot Plant facility is now in Morocco awaiting onward shipment to Tarfaya. A second shipment is now ready and awaiting collection.

San Leon has also established a local office and a personnel accommodation facility in Tarfaya, from which the construction activities will be managed and coordinated. This facility is now fully operational and manned by San Leon personnel.

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