Patents Examined by George A. Suckfield
  • Patent number: 4013125
    Abstract: Flooding of a subterranean formation with micellar dispersions containing petroleum sulfonates obtained by sulfonating whole or topped crude oil is improved through the use of a micellar dispersion of a predetermined viscosity containing an amount of cosurfactant in excess of that required to cause the micellar dispersion to have the highest viscosity possible for the particular micellar dispersion with the particular cosurfactant used. Preferably, the cosurfactant is an alcohol and the cosurfactant concentration is sufficiently high to control the micellar dispersion to have a predetermined mobility when injected into a hydrocarbon-bearing formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 1975
    Date of Patent: March 22, 1977
    Assignee: Marathon Oil Company
    Inventors: Mark A. Plummer, Donald E. Schroeder, Jr., Wayne O. Roszelle
  • Patent number: 3994341
    Abstract: Recovery of viscous petroleum such as from thick tar sands is assisted using a closed-loop flow path from the earth's surface through a substantial portion of the formation for conducting hot fluid to reduce the viscosity of the petroleum in the formation to develop a potential passage in the formation outside the flow path into which a drive fluid is injected to promote movement of the petroleum to a production position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 30, 1976
    Assignee: Chevron Research Company
    Inventors: Donald J. Anderson, Charles F. Kirkvold, Peter Pisio, John R. Lishman
  • Patent number: 3994340
    Abstract: Recovery of viscous petroleum such as from tar sands is assisted using a substantially vertical passage from the earth's surface which penetrates the tar sand and has extending therefrom a lateral hole containing a flow path isolated from the tar sand for circulating a hot fluid to and from the vertical passage to develop a potential flow path into which a drive fluid is injected to promote movement of the petroleum to a production position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 30, 1976
    Assignee: Chevron Research Company
    Inventors: Donald J. Anderson, Charles F. Kirkvold, Peter Pisio
  • Patent number: 3994343
    Abstract: This process is suitable for in situ retorting of oil shale particles, with retorting proceeding downwardly through a bed of broken pieces of shale. When a single bed is being retorted, air is passed downwardly after ignition until a hot zone trailing the combustion zone has built up to some predetermined thickness, for example, 20 feet having a temperature over 1000.degree. F. Thereafter off gas from the bed is recycled downwardly without air. Reaction of the recycle gas with the heated spent shale increases the heating value of the resultant off gas. The transfer of heat without combustion increases the yield of oil. When the maximum temperature in the bed drops to a predetermined temperature above the self-ignition temperature of the shale, air is again introduced to reestablish a combustion zone and build up a hot zone. Retorting continues with alternating combustion and recycling periods through the entire bed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 1974
    Date of Patent: November 30, 1976
    Assignee: Occidental Petroleum Corporation
    Inventors: Chang Yul Cha, Richard D. Ridley
  • Patent number: 3993133
    Abstract: An improved process for decreasing the permeability of a subterranean oil-bearing formation which comprises injecting an aqueous surfactant solution containing a chemically crosslinkable, water-dispersible polymer which prevents the surfactant from foaming until it is in the formation and after the polymer breaks down due to heat in the formation caused by steam which is used to carry the aqueous solution into the formation. In accordance with one embodiment, gelled or ungelled cellulose ether polymers in an aqueous surfactant solution are injected with steam into the more permeable or more depleted portions of a subterranean oil-bearing formation to produce a selective blocking due to the formation of foam in the more permeable sections of the formation which forces the remaining injection steam to produce oil from less depleted portions of the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1976
    Assignee: Phillips Petroleum Company
    Inventor: Richard L. Clampitt
  • Patent number: 3993132
    Abstract: A method for the recovery of low API gravity viscous oils or bitumen from a subterranean formation by the injection of a mixture of an oxygen-containing gas and steam having an optimum gas/steam ratio that is decreased as the cumulative amount of steam is increased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1976
    Assignee: Texaco Exploration Canada Ltd.
    Inventors: Phillip J. Cram, David A. Redford
  • Patent number: 3990512
    Abstract: This invention relates generally to petroleum well treatment and more particularly to improvement of production from earthen petroleum reservoirs of low permeability by fracturing the petroleum bearing strata. The present invention accomplishes this purpose by use of energy capsules that upon implosion produce acoustic waves as to cause the formation to undergo periodic stress beyond its elastic endurance limit and to fail by elastic fatigue.A plurality of energy capsules designed to implode at different hydrostatic pressures in order to release shock waves to produce a cavitational action in the areas adjacent to the well bore are transmitted in a fluid medium. The energy capsules may be utilized in conjunction with pressurized fluid that is oscillated such that the combined elements of a pressurized fluid system and the release of shock waves at spaced time intervals from the energy capsules is obtained.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 10, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 9, 1976
    Assignee: Ultrasonic Energy Corporation
    Inventor: Arthur Kuris
  • Patent number: 3990514
    Abstract: The method connecting wells by hydraulic-fracturing of a mineral bed, primarily for connection of wells in underground gasification of coal beds; using hydraulic-fracturing of a bed is effected intermediate a source-well into which a liquid is pumped under pressure and a well in the required direction; the head of the well with which connection is to be effected is sealed, whereas the heads of the wells, with which connection is undesirable, are opened; the liquid is pumped into the source-well under a pressure sufficient for initiating hydraulic-fracturing; the pressure in the well with which the source-well is to be connected is measured, and the moment the pressure in this well attains the hydraulic-fracturing value, the head thereof is immediately opened; upon the formation of a hydraulic fracturing fissure, the latter is flushed with the liquid; the method provides for building up a hydraulic-fracturing pressure in the well with which connection of the source-well is to be effected and thus controlling t
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 9, 1976
    Inventors: Efim Vulfovich Kreinin, Nikolai Ananievich Fedorov, Roza Ivanovna Antonova, Alfei Fedorovich Volk, Elfrica Girshevna Gershevich
  • Patent number: 3989107
    Abstract: The electric induction heating in situ of a selected portion of an underground deposit of hydrocarbons (such as petroleum, especially petroleum entrapped within a sand formation or the like, or lignite), for the purpose of facilitating extraction of hydrocarbons from the deposit. The heating is conveniently effected by passing alternating current through a conductor encompassing the selected portion. The conductive path is preferably a toroid, helix, or simulated toroid or helix, created by drilling and passing one or more conductors through the drill holes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1976
    Inventors: Sidney T. Fisher, Charles B. Fisher
  • Patent number: 3988036
    Abstract: A method of extracting metal from an underground ore body. The body is heated by electric induction to a temperature sufficient to break up the metallic ore compound and liquefy the metal. The metal flows into production wells where it is collected and transported to the surface, as by rapid solidification into powder or pellets in a pressurized gas stream. The electric induction is conveniently effected by passing alternating current through a conductor encompassing that portion of the ore body to be heated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 1975
    Date of Patent: October 26, 1976
    Inventors: Sidney T. Fisher, Charles B. Fisher
  • Patent number: 3983939
    Abstract: Recovery of viscous petroleum from thick formations is especially difficult because thermal fluids or solvents needed to mobilize the viscous petroleum tend to channel through high permeability streaks in the formation, thereby bypassing large portions of the petroleum saturated formation. By forming or ensuring that there are naturally occurring high permeability strata in the upper portion and in the lower portion of the petroleum formation, and establishing separate communication means between the surface of the earth and the upper and lower high permeability strata, effective downward displacement may be achieved.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 1975
    Date of Patent: October 5, 1976
    Assignee: Texaco Inc.
    Inventors: Alfred Brown, Ching H. Wu, Jack H. Park
  • Patent number: 3983940
    Abstract: A water-external microemulsion and a method of recovering crude oil therewith, the water-external microemulsion being one which comprises at least 90% by weight of an aqueous medium, an oil component and a surfactant comprising a C.sub.8-16 orthoxylene sulfonate in an amount greater than the critical micelle concentration to form the microemulsion. The water-external microemulsion allows for effective and efficient crude oil recovery by providing minimum adsorption and low oil-water interfacial tension.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 1975
    Date of Patent: October 5, 1976
    Assignee: Exxon Production Research Company
    Inventors: Clarence W. Carpenter, Jr., Walter W. Gale
  • Patent number: 3982591
    Abstract: The specification discloses a recovery process and system wherein hydrogen and oxygen are introduced into a vented pressure vessel, known as a gas generator, located at the bottom of a borehole, and ignited and burned to produce steam. The hydrogen and oxygen may be introduced either as a stoichiometric mixture or the combustible mixture may be hydrogen-rich. The gas generator comprises a cooling annulus surrounding a combustion and mixing zone for cooling the gas generator and the combustion products. Hydrogen or water may be supplied to the cooling annulus for cooling purposes. Remotely controlled valves are located downhole near the gas generator for positive control to the gas generator of the hydrogen and oxygen and of the water, if it is employed for cooling purposes. The well casing is sealed just above the gas generator by an inflatable packer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 1974
    Date of Patent: September 28, 1976
    Assignee: World Energy Systems
    Inventors: Joseph T. Hamrick, Leslie C. Rose
  • Patent number: 3982592
    Abstract: A process and system for insitu hydrogenation employing a gas generator in a borehole for burning a hydrogen-rich mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. The gas generator comprises a housing forming a chamber with a combustion zone at one end and a restricted outlet at the other end. A cooling annulus surrounds the chamber with passages leading from the annulus to the chamber. Hydrogen and oxygen are supplied downhole to the generator to form a hydrogen-rich combustible mixture in the combustion zone which is burned whereby hydrogen and steam are injected from the restricted outlet. Hydrogen also is supplied to the cooling annulus. The flow of hydrogen and oxygen to the generator is controlled to maintain the temperature of the exhaust gases at a level sufficient to crack the hydrocarbons in the formations into lighter segments for reaction with the excess hot hydrogen to form lighter and less viscous end products which are recovered from a production well.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 1975
    Date of Patent: September 28, 1976
    Assignee: World Energy Systems
    Inventors: Joseph T. Hamrick, Leslie C. Rose
  • Patent number: 3981361
    Abstract: Disclosed herein is a method for recovering oil from subterranean formations using microemulsions. The microemulsion is compounded from an oil, an aqueous medium, and a surfactant, and its parameters are varied to form volumetric ratios of oil to surfactant in the microemulsion and/or water to surfactant in the microemulsion greater than 0.5. Preferably, the volumetric ratios will be greater than 2.0. Among the parameters which can be adjusted to change these volumetric ratios include the salinity of the aqueous medium, the temperature of the microemulsion system, the chemical structure of the surfactant, the chemical structure of any cosurfactant included in the microemulsion, the degree of aromaticity of the oil, and composition of dissolved solids in the aqueous medium. In one preferred embodiment of the invention an oil is chosen which has physical and chemical characteristics substantially the same as the formation oil.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 1975
    Date of Patent: September 21, 1976
    Assignee: Exxon Production Research Company
    Inventor: Robert N. Healy
  • Patent number: 3980137
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for injecting pressurized fluid into a well are disclosed. The apparatus to inject pressurized fluid into a well comprises a combustion chamber, having a coolant jacket positioned to circulate coolant over outer walls of the combustion chamber and into the combustion chamber around the burner such that vapor flows between a flame and inner walls of the combustion chamber. The injected coolant forms a vapor barrier between the flame and the combustion chamber walls and is pressurized for delivery into a well. The combustion chamber can be affixed to the well casing at the surface or the combustion chamber can be used as a "down-hole" vapor generator apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 1975
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1976
    Assignee: GCOE Corporation
    Inventor: William W. Gray
  • Patent number: 3980339
    Abstract: Subterranean mineral deposits, such as oil shale or the like, are prepared for in-situ retorting by selectively mining out an area at the base of the deposit leaving an overlying deposit supported in a suitable manner such as by a plurality of pillars. The overlying deposit is expanded in any suitable manner into the underlying area in a fashion to create a predetermined distribution of permeability from an area of low permeability to an area of high permeability. An inlet is provided at the low permeability area and an outlet at the high permeability area. A suitable medium is introduced into the deposit at the low permeability end for extracting and forcing mineral values from the deposit toward the outlet end for recovery.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 1975
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1976
    Assignee: Geokinetics, Inc.
    Inventors: David D. Heald, John C. McKinnell, Mitchell A. Lekas
  • Patent number: 3978928
    Abstract: A subterranean formation having at least one borehole is treated with an aqueous gel wherein crude oil and water were produced from the subterranean formation through the borehole until the production of crude oil was reduced due to the presence of sandy material restricting the borehole, and the production of crude oil is increased as a result of said treatment as, for example, by producing crude oil and water from the formation at a lower water-oil ratio as compared to the water-oil ratio prior to treatment with the aqueous gel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 1975
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1976
    Assignee: Phillips Petroleum Company
    Inventor: Richard L. Clampitt
  • Patent number: 3977472
    Abstract: A hydraulic fracturing method wherein a viscous oil-in-water emulsion is injected into a formation under sufficient pressure to fracture the formation. The emulsion contains from about 70 to about 90 volume percent of an internal liquid hydrocarbon phase, from about 10 to about 30 volume percent of an external aqueous phase and sufficient amounts of a nonionic surfactant to stabilize and viscosify the emulsion. The preferred hydrocarbon phase concentration is between about 75 and 85 volume percent. The nonionic surfactant also gives the emulsion a breaking temperature which is not greater than the temperature of the formation. Preferably, an electrolyte is used to adjust the temperature at which the emulsion will break. After fracturing is completed the emulsion is then left in the wellbore for a sufficient time to permit the temperature of the emulsion to reach its breaking temperature. Upon breaking, the emulsion reverts to a low viscosity fluid which is readily removable from the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1975
    Date of Patent: August 31, 1976
    Assignee: Exxon Production Research Company
    Inventors: John W. Graham, Clay Gruesbeck, William M. Salathiel
  • Patent number: 3976140
    Abstract: A method of consolidating incompetent subterranean formation surrounding a well wherein a liquid resin diluted with a two-part diluent is injected into the formation and is followed by an overflush liquid to extract the diluent but leave the resin on the sand grains. The two-part diluent comprises a first component miscible with the resin and a second component immiscible with the resin but miscible with the first component and the overflush liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 1975
    Date of Patent: August 24, 1976
    Assignee: Exxon Production Research Company
    Inventors: Christopher M. Shaughnessy, William M. Salathiel