Oil could be extracted as early as this month from shale deposits dug from a mine in Logan County, according to economic development officials.

Arrakis Oil Recovery, a subsidiary of Imperial Petroleum in Evansville, is developing the Stampede Mine along Morgan-town Road north of Russellville.Site preparation has included the construction of runoff ponds and the building of a facility where oil will be extracted from shale deposits that start a few feet below the topsoil. Heavy construction equipment dots the landscape at the site of the mine, located near Sycamore Road.

Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick said the mine operators held a job fair last month in an effort to add employees to the enterprise at the 121-acre site. “They seemed to be real knowledgeable about what they’re doing,” Chick said. “I know they’re building roads into some of the sites where they’re going to mine.”

Tom Harned, executive director of the Logan Economic Alliance for Development, said a Canadian company affiliated with Imperial Petroleum has helped develop a process for extracting oil from the shale. The extraction process involves breaking down the shale into a gravel-like consistency, with the sands left over from the extraction process going back into the mine.

Arrakis President Jeffrey Wilson told the Daily News last year that the mechanical and chemical oil extraction process uses no heat, resulting in virtually no harmful air emissions, and the chemicals and water used in the process will be recycled.

The shale deposits that will be mined are part of a band that stretches across northern Logan County into Edmonson County.

“Those deposits are well known and have been for many years,” Harned said. “Since the turn of the previous century, there have been various ventures over the years to extract the oil from the shale, but none have been really successful.”

Mine officials acquired the mineral rights and leases to several properties in the area. 

After the oil is extracted, it will be shipped to refineries at the Gulf of Mexico. Harned indicated the oil would be transported by rail.

At the recent job fair, 75 people responded for an estimated 15 to 20 vacancies at the mine, Harned said. 

“(The company) is very optimistic about their ability to operate this in a sustainable, profitable way,” Harned said. “They feel they have an applicant pool they will be able to use to fill all the jobs.”

(2) comments

They Call Me Bad News
They Call Me Bad News

Are you a geologist?

Al Cross
Al Cross

Someone, probably non-geologist Harned, has gotten their rocks confused. There is no oil shale in the area. This story appears to be about a bituminous sandstone, a form of tar sands, but much less rich than those in Canada. (I did a story about tar-sand exploration efforts near Homer in Logan County about 30 years ago and still have part of a core-drill sample.) Note that the story says "sands left over from the extraction process" will go back to the mine. As the director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community issues, I look forward not only to a correction, but a story about what sort of environmental permits will be requires and what sort of regulations will apply. The state passed some oil-shale regulations more than 30 years ago, for an industry that never developed; I don't know if they were written or amended to include tar sands. (I can be reached at al.cross@uky.edu.)

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