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.”