Application of in-situ recovery methods have only been revealed in the literature up to a point. This paper goes beyond that point. High energy input, irregular propagation of heat, costs of maintaining a heat gradient, effects of insulation, costs of myriads of wells, absence of an effective pressure differential, the need for costly well manipulation, problems of wildfire and internal problems such as aquifers and impervious layers are discussed. Problems of layout of wells, opportunity for "scalping" and "high-grading" and the effect of the enclosing sands are reviewed. Recoveries of the total oil-in-place as low as 3% are indicated. The equivalent of 19 gallons of gasoline will be destroyed in the ground to get one gallon out, at a pump price of $2.00 per gallon or more. When underground mining is extended into an area of in-situ, the desecration will be verified and exposed. Despite all of the evidence, the tragedy is that in-situ recovery processes will be allowed.
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What has "in-situ" recovery of valuable material from strata got to do with abortion? The definition of abortion that is understood by most people is what the dictionary defines as, "induced or natural premature elimination of a fetus". Closer inspection of the better dictionaries discloses such additional terms as "untimely birth", "born imperfect", "without issue or result", "falls short of maturity", "failure", "fiasco", "monstrosity", and "freak", in the definitions. That these terms are applicable to attempts at in-situ recovery of bitumen from oil sands is something that should have been disclosed long ago.
The non-mining method of extracting valuable material from strata is called "in-situ" recovery. More specifically, the present usage refers to attempt to remove bitumen from oil sands.
The in-situ method has been widely touted by the oil industry, – who think that profitable oil can only come out of a drill hole.
The details of the so-called "in-situ" method have been widely described, up to a point, in a rather voluminous literature. The methods involve the introduction of heat into the sands so that the tar or bitumen, the petroleum constituent, is rendered less viscous so that a portion of it will flow into wells drilled into the healed portion.
Protagonists of in-situ talk blithely about 100% recovery and, in the case of fire heating, of only burning 5% of the oil.
The forces of adhesion and cohesion, the physical factors of permeability, porosity, transmissibilitymake it impossible for the oil to be pumped out in total from any sand. These well-known facts indicate that there is no possible way in which the oil can be induced, or forced, to flow into the wells in amounts greater than about 30%, of the oil-in-place.
Even in sands saturated by light crude oils, with low viscosity, it is only possible to recover a fraction of the total oil and then only from sands under immense gas or water pressure.