Abstract

Oil shale is commonly found in Tertiary intermontane basins throughout Thailand. They are thin bedded/laminated associated with Lacustrine shales and/or swamp-peat lignitic layers of Oligocene/Miocene age.

Exploration of oil shale in Thailand started in Mae Sot Basin, Northern of Thailand, more than 50
years ago. However, systematic exploration was carried out by the Department of Mineral Resources
after the oil crisis in 1973. Detail mapping and gravity survey were conducted and 156 holes ranging
in depth from 300-2,000 feet were drilled. Oil shale with thicknesses of 5-100 feet were found
interbedded with claystone, marl and siltstone. Distribution of these oil shale covers an area of about
200 km2.Geochemical analyses of over 10,000 samples indicates that the quality of these oil shale is
rather low. They contain average oil yield of 5% by weight or 12 gallons per ton which equivalent to
1,100 calories/gram of heating value and 60% ash content. High quality oil shale which has oil yield
more than 10% to a maximum of 26% by weight was also noted, but only small quantity. The total inplace reserve of oil shale in the Mae Sot Basin is approximately 18,000 million tons ( 6,000 million barrels of oil equivalent) which covers an area of about 54 km2.

Feasibility study was conducted by the Department of Mineral Resources in conjunction with the
Federal Republic of Germany and Japanese gevemment agency. They pointed out that the tendency
and potential ,for Mae Sot oil shale, could be developed by combining both direct burning and retorting for the purpose of electricity generation, raw material for cement factory and sync rude. For
the actual development scheme, it must be emphasized on an appropriate technology, economic situation and environmental impacts.

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