Boring By Below Ground Recirculation Of Unsupported Elements (e.g., Shot) Patents (Class 175/54)
  • Patent number: 9771779
    Abstract: Well systems including a wellbore lined with a wellbore lining and a pressure booster extendable within the wellbore on a conveyance whereby an annulus is defined between the conveyance and the wellbore lining. The pressure booster includes a body having a first end coupled to the conveyance, a jetting chamber defined within the body, one or more flow ports defined in the body and providing fluid communication between the jetting chamber and the annulus, and a jet nozzle in fluid communication with the conveyance. The pressure booster receives a first fluid through the conveyance and a second fluid from the annulus and mixes the first and second fluids to discharge a fracturing fluid below the pressure booster at a pressure greater than a pressure within the annulus above the pressure booster.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2017
    Assignee: HALLIBURTON ENERGY SERVICE, INC.
    Inventors: Jim Basuki Surjaatmadja, Stanley V. Stephenson
  • Patent number: 9689212
    Abstract: The present invention provides a system and method for directional drilling of a borehole in a formation along a predetermined trajectory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2017
    Assignee: SHELL OIL COMPANY
    Inventor: Pieter Van Nieuwkoop
  • Patent number: 8485279
    Abstract: A system for use in excavating a wellbore that includes a drill string and attached drill bit that has nozzles that are in fluid communication with the drill string. The system receives pressurized slurry of fluid and impactor particles and directs the slurry at a subterranean formation from the nozzles to form the wellbore. Discharge streams are formed from the slurry exiting the nozzles, the discharge streams impact and fracture the formation to remove material. The nozzles are oriented so that the streams excavate in the middle and periphery of the borehole bottom. The nozzles can be oriented to form frusto-conical spray patterns when the bit is rotated, wherein the spray patterns can intersect or overlap.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2013
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Gordon A. Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Jim B. Terry
  • Patent number: 8353367
    Abstract: A particle impact drilling system and method are described. In several exemplary embodiments, the system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, an apparatus or system, methods, to excavate a subterranean formation. The system can including, for example, removing near-borehole damage, casing, window milling, fishing, drilling with casing, under reaming, coring, perforating, effective circulatory density management, assisted annular flow, and directional control. Embodiments of associated systems and methods are also included.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: January 15, 2013
    Inventors: Gordon Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Adrian Vuyk, Jr., James Terry
  • Patent number: 8353366
    Abstract: A particle impact drilling system and method are described. In several exemplary embodiments, the system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, an apparatus or system, methods, to excavate a subterranean formation. The system can including, for example, removing near-borehole damage, casing, window milling, fishing, drilling with casing, under reaming, coring, perforating, effective circulatory density management, assisted annular flow, and directional control. Embodiments of associated systems and methods are also included.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: January 15, 2013
    Inventors: Gordon Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Adrian Vuyk, Jr., James Terry
  • Patent number: 8342265
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation, according to which a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors are passed between a drill string to a body member for discharge from the body member to remove at least a portion of the formation. The flow of the suspension between the drill string and the body member is controlled by an ultra shearing drilling mud in order to prevent the impactors from settling near the bottom of the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: January 1, 2013
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventor: Greg Galloway
  • Patent number: 8256533
    Abstract: A distance holder for connection to, and rotation with, a drill string in an earth formation drilling device arranged to supply a jet of abrasive fluid for the purpose of providing a borehole by removing earth formation material through abrasion, comprises a housing with a chamber which is essentially rotational symmetric and which is to face the earth formation material, and a jet nozzle which arranged for discharging a jet of the abrasive fluid in the chamber, the housing comprising at least one slot for allowing the abrasive fluid to leave the chamber. The slot is continued over the housing outer surface so as to counteract rolling motions of the particles which are comprised in the abrasive fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2008
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2012
    Assignee: Shell Oil Company
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blangé
  • Publication number: 20120205155
    Abstract: A particle impact drilling system and method are described. In several exemplary embodiments, the system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, an apparatus or system, methods, to excavate a subterranean formation. The system can including, for example, removing near-borehole damage, casing, window milling, fishing, drilling with casing, under reaming, coring, perforating, effective circulatory density management, assisted annular flow, and directional control. Embodiments of associated systems and methods are also included.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 24, 2012
    Publication date: August 16, 2012
    Applicant: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Gordon A. Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Adrian Vuyk, JR., James Terry
  • Publication number: 20120205156
    Abstract: A particle impact drilling system and method are described. In several exemplary embodiments, the system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, an apparatus or system, methods, to excavate a subterranean formation. The system can including, for example, removing near-borehole damage, casing, window milling, fishing, drilling with casing, under reaming, coring, perforating, effective circulatory density management, assisted annular flow, and directional control. Embodiments of associated systems and methods are also included.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 24, 2012
    Publication date: August 16, 2012
    Applicant: PDTI HOLDINGS, LLC
    Inventors: Gordon A. Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Adrian Vuyk, JR., James Terry
  • Patent number: 8186456
    Abstract: A particle impact drilling system and method are described. In several exemplary embodiments, the system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, an apparatus or system, methods, to excavate a subterranean formation. The system can including, for example, removing near-borehole damage, casing, window milling, fishing, drilling with casing, under reaming, coring, perforating, effective circulatory density management, assisted annular flow, and directional control. Embodiments of associated systems and methods are also included.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 29, 2012
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Gordon Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Adrian Vuyk, Jr., James Terry
  • Patent number: 8167058
    Abstract: A method for supplying a jet of abrasive fluid for the purpose of providing a borehole by removing earth formation material through abrasion comprises a drill string and a drilling assembly connected to the drill string. The drilling assembly comprises a jetting device with a mixing space, a drilling fluid, a particle inlet, an abrasive fluid outlet for discharging a mixture of drilling fluid and magnetic particles, and a magnetic particle circulation system comprising a supporting surface which is exposed to a return stream along the drilling assembly. The method includes fixing a magnetic device with respect to the supporting surface, selecting a magnetic field density that which increases along the sloping supporting surface, attracting magnetic particles onto the supporting surface, and making the magnetic particles move over the sloping supporting surface (under the influence of the magnetic field of the magnetic device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2012
    Assignee: Shell Oil Company
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blangé
  • Patent number: 8162079
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a formation according to which at least one vessel that is selectively pressurized from a first pressure to second pressure to inject a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors into a formation to remove at least a portion of the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 24, 2012
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Nathan J. Harder, Harry B. Curlett, Paul O. Padgett, Butch Hazel
  • Patent number: 8113300
    Abstract: A method and system for excavating a subterranean formation including pumping a fluid through a nozzle such that an exit velocity of the fluid is greater than an entrance velocity of the fluid. A plurality of solid material impactors may be circulated with the fluid through the nozzle. A substantial portion by weight of the solid material impactors has a mean diameter of approximately 0.100 inches or less. The substantial portion by weight of solid material impactors exit the nozzle, contact the formation and rebound into a junk slot.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2012
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventor: Gordon Tibbitts
  • Publication number: 20120024601
    Abstract: A particle impact drilling system and method are described. In several exemplary embodiments, the system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, an apparatus or system, methods, to excavate a subterranean formation. The system can including, for example, removing near-borehole damage, casing, window milling, fishing, drilling with casing, under reaming, coring, perforating, effective circulatory density management, assisted annular flow, and directional control. Embodiments of associated systems and methods are also included.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 5, 2011
    Publication date: February 2, 2012
    Applicant: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Gordon A. Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Adrian Vuyk, JR., James Terry
  • Patent number: 8037950
    Abstract: A particle impact drilling system and method are described. In several exemplary embodiments, the system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, an apparatus or system, methods, to excavate a subterranean formation. The system can including, for example, removing near-borehole damage, casing, window milling, fishing, drilling with casing, under reaming, coring, perforating, effective circulatory density management, assisted annular flow, and directional control. Embodiments of associated systems and methods are also included.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 18, 2011
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Gordon A. Tibbitts, Greg Galloway, Adrian Vuyk, Jr., James Terry
  • Patent number: 7997355
    Abstract: An injection system and method is described. In several exemplary embodiments, the injection system and method may be a part of, and/or used with, a system and method for excavating a subterranean formation. In at least one example, an apparatus is provided that includes a source of impactors comprising at least some ferritic material capable of influence by magnetic fields. An injector is coupled to the source and includes a screw extruder, a screw positioned within a barrel, and at least one magnetic circuit is positioned outside of the barrel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 2007
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2011
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Adrian Vuyk, Jr., Jim B. Terry, Gordon Allen Tibbitts, Nathan J. Harder, Gregory G. Galloway
  • Patent number: 7987928
    Abstract: An excavation system for forming a wellbore through a subterranean formation, the system employing pressurized drilling fluid with impactors mixed therein. The pressurized fluid with impactors is directed to a drill string having a drill bit with nozzles on its lower end. The fluid impactor mixture is discharged from the nozzles and against the formation, wherein the impactors contact, compress, and fracture the formation to excavate through the formation. The system includes an impactor injection system that injects impactors into a stream of pressurized drilling fluid to form the mixture. The injection system operates at substantially the same pressure as the pressurized drilling fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 2, 2011
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Adrian Vuyk, Jr., Greg Galloway, Jim Terry, Gordon Tibbitts, Kenneth Colvin, Thomas Alan Carlson
  • Patent number: 7909116
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation, according to which a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors is introduced into at least one cavity formed in the body member. The suspension is discharged from a nozzle disposed in the cavity towards the formation so that the impactors remove at least a portion of the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2011
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventor: Gordon Allen Tibbitts
  • Publication number: 20100294567
    Abstract: A system for use in excavating a wellbore that includes a drill string and attached drill bit that has nozzles that are in fluid communication with the drill string. The system receives pressurized slurry of fluid and impactor particles and directs the slurry at a subterranean formation from the nozzles to form the wellbore. Discharge streams are formed from the slurry exiting the nozzles, the discharge streams impact and fracture the formation to remove material. The nozzles are oriented so that the streams excavate in the middle and periphery of the borehole bottom. The nozzles can be oriented to form frusto-conical spray patterns when the bit is rotated, wherein the spray patterns can intersect or overlap.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 1, 2010
    Publication date: November 25, 2010
    Applicant: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventor: Gordon A. Tibbitts
  • Patent number: 7798249
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a wellbore through a subterranean formation that includes a drill string having an inner passage for flowing a suspension of fluid and impactors. The drill string includes a flow control device to block flow in the drill string passage or in the annulus formed between the drill string and the wellbore inner wall from lowing into the bit when flow is reduced or stopped. The flow can take place due to fluid density differences resulting from impactors being in suspension in the fluid. The flow control device includes a selectively openable and closable valve. Valve embodiments include valves having flapper elements, a plurality of cables suspended in an annular configuration, and whisker elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2006
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2010
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventor: Gordon Allen Tibbitts
  • Patent number: 7757786
    Abstract: A system and method according to which at least one vessel injects a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors into a formation to remove at least a portion of the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 20, 2010
    Assignee: PDTI Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Nathan J. Harder, Harry B. Curlett, Paul O. Padgett, Butch Hazel
  • Publication number: 20100175924
    Abstract: The invention relates to a tool for use in wellbore drilling, suitable for use with a drill string for drilling a wellbore having an inner wall, the tool comprising means for generating particles of solid material from the formed inner wall of a drilled wellbore, and means for directing the generated particles to the inner wall of the wellbore and a method of forming a layer of solid particles on the inner wall of a wellbore drilled by such a drill string.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 30, 2008
    Publication date: July 15, 2010
    Applicant: Schumberger Technology Corproation
    Inventors: Louise Bailey, John Cook, Jennifer Edwards, Gerald Meeten, Jonathan Phipps
  • Publication number: 20100108389
    Abstract: A distance holder for connection to, and rotation with, a drill string in an earth formation drilling device arranged to supply a jet of abrasive fluid for the purpose of providing a borehole by removing earth formation material through abrasion, comprises a housing with a chamber which is essentially rotational symmetric and which is to face the earth formation material, and a jet nozzle which arranged for discharging a jet of the abrasive fluid in the chamber, the housing comprising at least one slot for allowing the abrasive fluid to leave the chamber. The slot is continued over the housing outer surface so as to counteract rolling motions of the particles which are comprised in the abrasive fluid.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 20, 2008
    Publication date: May 6, 2010
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blangé
  • Publication number: 20100078217
    Abstract: A method for supplying a jet of abrasive fluid for the purpose of providing a borehole by removing earth formation material through abrasion comprises a drill string and a drilling assembly connected to the drill string. The drilling assembly comprises a jetting device with a mixing space, a drilling fluid, a particle inlet, an abrasive fluid outlet for discharging a mixture of drilling fluid and magnetic particles, and a magnetic particle circulation system comprising a supporting surface which is exposed to a return stream along the drilling assembly. The method includes fixing a magnetic device with respect to the supporting surface, selecting a magnetic field density that which increases along the sloping supporting surface, attracting magnetic particles onto the supporting surface, and making the magnetic particles move over the sloping supporting surface (under the influence of the magnetic field of the magnetic device.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 2, 2008
    Publication date: April 1, 2010
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blange
  • Publication number: 20090200080
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation, according to which a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors are introduced into at least one cavity formed in a body member and are discharging from the cavity so that the impactors remove a portion of the formation. The impactors are separated from at least a portion of the fluid, and are passed to a conduit so that the impactors accumulate in the conduit before being removed from the conduit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 9, 2007
    Publication date: August 13, 2009
    Inventors: Gordon A. Tibbitts, Paul O. Padgett, Nathan J. Harder, Adrian Vuyk, JR., Gregory G. Galloway, Harry Curlett, Samuel Curlett
  • Publication number: 20090090557
    Abstract: An excavation system for forming a wellbore through a subterranean formation, the system employing pressurized drilling fluid with impactors mixed therein. The pressurized fluid with impactors is directed to a drill string having a drill bit with nozzles on its lower end. The fluid impactor mixture is discharged from the nozzles and against the formation, wherein the impactors contact, compress, and fracture the formation to excavate through the formation. The system includes an impactor injection system that injects impactors into a stream of pressurized drilling fluid to form the mixture. The injection system operates at substantially the same pressure as the pressurized drilling fluid.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 9, 2008
    Publication date: April 9, 2009
    Applicant: PARTICLE DRILLING TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
    Inventors: Adrian Vuyk, JR., Greg Galloway, Jim Terry, Gordon Tibbitts, Kenneth Colvin, Thomas Alan Carlson
  • Patent number: 7503407
    Abstract: A method and system for excavating a subterranean formation using a fluid comprising pumping the fluid through at least one nozzle such that a velocity of the fluid when exiting the nozzle is greater than a velocity of the fluid entering the nozzle. A plurality of solid material impactors are introduced into the fluid and circulated with the fluid through the nozzle. A substantial portion by weight of the solid material impactors has a mean diameter of equal to or less than approximately 0.100 inches. The fluid is pumped at a pressure level and a flow rate level sufficient to satisfy an impactor mass-velocity relationship wherein a substantial portion by weight of the solid material impactors has a minimum kinetic energy of approximately 0.075 Ft Lbs when exiting the nozzle. The substantial portion by weight of solid material impactors exit the nozzle and contact the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2004
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2009
    Assignee: Particle Drilling Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Gordon Tibbitts
  • Patent number: 7493966
    Abstract: A system and method for making a hole in an object, the system having jet means for generating an abrasive jet formed of a mixture of a fluid and abrasive particles, and for blasting the abrasive jet with an erosive power into impingement with the object in an impingement area, thereby eroding the object in the impingement area. The system further has a rotating means for moving the impingement area along a selected circular trajectory in the hole about its circumference, and modulation means for modulating the erosive power of the abrasive jet while the impingement area is being moved along the selected trajectory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 24, 2009
    Assignee: Shell Oil Company
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blangé
  • Patent number: 7445058
    Abstract: A nozzle unit for generating an abrasive jet. The nozzle unit has a first nozzle connected to a pressurized carrier fluid supply; a mixing chamber in which the first nozzle discharges; and a second nozzle connected to the mixing chamber. An abrasive particle inlet discharges in the mixing chamber. A proportion of the cross sectional area of the first nozzle opening (A1) and the cross sectional area of the second nozzle opening (A2) is in a range of 0.50-1.0.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2008
    Assignee: Shell Oil Company
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blangé
  • Patent number: 7431104
    Abstract: A device for transporting magnetic particles in a selected direction has a support surface extending in the selected direction, a magnet arranged to generate a magnetic field for retaining the particles on the support surface such that the magnetic field on the support surface has high- and low-field bands and a magnetic field gradient zone between the high- and low-bands, means for advancing the high- and low-bands relative to the support surface in a direction having a component in the direction of the gradient, wherein along the high-field band at least first and second magnetic poles of opposite polarity are arranged such that a first magnetic path on the support surface from the first pole to the second pole is shorter than a second magnetic path on the support surface crossing the gradient zone from the first pole to any other nearest pole of opposite polarity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 2004
    Date of Patent: October 7, 2008
    Assignee: Shell Oil Company
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blangé
  • Publication number: 20080210472
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation, according to which a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors are introduced into at least one cavity formed in a body member and are discharging from the cavity so that the impactors remove a portion of the formation. The impactors are separated from at least a portion of the fluid, and are passed to a conduit so that the impactors accumulate in the conduit before being removed from the conduit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 15, 2008
    Publication date: September 4, 2008
    Applicant: Particle Drilling Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Gordon A. Tibbitts
  • Patent number: 7419014
    Abstract: The invention features an excavating device for excavating a hole in a geological formation, which excavating device includes: a body rotatable inside the hole along a rotation axis; a nozzle arranged on the body to jet a stream of an abrasive fluid onto a surface in the geological formation in order to generate the hole, wherein the stream has at least an radial velocity component and one parallel to the rotation axis. The excavating device further has a distance holder arranged on the body to ensure a predefined distance between the nozzle outlet and the surface; wherein the distance holder has a trumpet shaped inner surface section facing the geological formation, which trumpet shaped inner surface section is provided with an opening for allowing the stream to pass through. The opening in the trumpet shaped inner surface section is defined by a recess that is formed in the inner surface of the wall of the distance holder, whereby the nozzle is arranged to discharge in the recess.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 2004
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2008
    Assignee: Shell Oil Company
    Inventor: Jan-Jette Blangé
  • Patent number: 7398838
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation according to which a fluid is introduced into a vessel to draw a plurality of impactors into the vessel to form a suspension. The suspension is discharged from the vessel and into another vessel, and fluid is introduced into the other vessel to draw the suspension into the other vessel. A suspension is formed in the other vessel that is discharged towards the formation to remove a portion of the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2008
    Assignee: Particle Drilling Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Nathan J. Harder, Harry B. Curlett, Paul O. Padgett, Samuel R. Curlett
  • Patent number: 7398839
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation, according to which a slurry of liquid and a plurality of impactors are introduced into at least one cavity formed in a body member and are discharged from the cavity so that the impactors remove a portion of the formation. The impactors are separated from at least a portion of the fluid and the materials removed from the formation, so that the impactors can be reused.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2008
    Assignee: Particle Drilling Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Nathan J. Harder, Harry B. Curlett, Paul O. Padgett, Samuel R. Curlett
  • Patent number: 7383896
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation, according to which a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors are introduced into at least one cavity formed in a body member and are discharging from the cavity so that the impactors remove a portion of the formation. The impactors are separated from at least a portion of the fluid, and are passed to a conduit so that the impactors accumulate in the conduit before being removed from the conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 10, 2008
    Assignee: Particle Drilling Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Gordon Allen Tibbitts
  • Patent number: 7343987
    Abstract: A system and method for excavating a subterranean formation, according to which a suspension of liquid and a plurality of impactors are passed between a drill string to a body member for discharge from the body member to remove at least a portion of the formation. The flow of the suspension between the drill string and the body member is controlled in order to present the impactors from settling near the bottom of the formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2008
    Assignee: Particle Drilling Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Gordon Allen Tibbitts
  • Publication number: 20020011338
    Abstract: A multi-gradient system for drilling a well bore from a surface location into a seabed includes an injector for injecting buoyant substantially incompressible articles into a column of drilling fluid associated with the well bore. Preferably, the substantially incompressible articles comprises hollow substantially spherical bodies.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 5, 2001
    Publication date: January 31, 2002
    Inventors: William C. Maurer, George H. Medley, William J. McDonald
  • Patent number: 6152356
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for the hydraulic removal of bitumen from a tar sand deposit comprises forming a borehole into the tar sand deposit and securing a casing into the borehole. Into the casing is inserted a mining tool having a water/diluent channel and a slurry exit channel. Through the casing the borehole is charged with crushed aggregate. At the lower end of the tool are nozzles through which high pressure hot water/diluent is injected as a jet from the water/diluent channel into the tar sand deposit causing a cavity to form in the tar sand deposit. The heat of the water/diluent jets and dissolving action of the diluent softens the tar sand contacted and the impact of the jets and the scouring action of the aggregate, as impinged upon by the jets, removes the tar sand from the surface of the developing cavity into a water phase. A bitumen/diluent phase rises to the surface of the water phase and is removed from the cavity through the casing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2000
    Inventor: Carl S. Minden