Raytheon has sold its technology to extract oil from shale and tar sands to Schlumberger, a leading oilfield services company.
In order to create new momentum for extracting oil from shale, Raytheon utilized one of its many intellectual property reserves (radio frequency, or RF, technology).
Raytheon’s solution combines RF with critical fluids (CF) processes of small business partner CF Technologies in Hyde Park, Mass. The RF/CF combination uniformly heats buried shale rock, separates the petroleum from the shale, and directs the liberated oil so that it may flow into tanks for extraction. The method is more economical and environmentally responsible than older oil shale extraction techniques as it uses far less power, does not severely disrupt the landscape or leave behind residue that can enter groundwater supplies.
According to the press release the arrangement between the two companies comes as demand for the world’s finite oil supplies continues to increase, the price per barrel is near record highs, and government and industry are looking for new sources of oil to lessen dependency on foreign suppliers.
If successfully harvested, shale could provide a long-term source of reliable, affordable and secure oil. Federal officials estimate that this resource — much of which is locked in a 16,000-acre formation beneath federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming — could yield enough oil to meet U.S. demand at current levels for more than 250 years.