A new technique developed at Strathclyde University uses high voltage pulsed power to produce plasma-channel formation inside rocks or the seabed.
The extremely rapid expansion of the plasma channel within the rock, which occurs in less than a millionth of a second, causes it to fracture and fragment. Repeated formation of the self-rotating plasma channels results in an effective and controlled drilling action. The plasma channel drilling technology is designed to be deployed via wireline or coiled tubing and focuses on drilling slim holes from existing completion tubulars to perform short step out sidetracks. It does not require any mechanical rotation of the drill shank
The technology has the ability to drill small diameter holes and is cost effective way to increase oil recovery from already developed reservoirs. It has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of exploration and subsurface data acquisition, and to reduce their environmental impact.
The drilling system is based on a portable and compact pulsed power system with easily adjustable parameters for drilling in different geological conditions, and has low power requirements.
The system is expected to be of use in the oil & gas industries (brown field development, exploration, subsurface data acquisition, downhole scale and fouling removal), in mining (portable non-rotational drilling operations for creation of narrow holes in restricted areas), in water or aquifer drilling, pilot hole drilling, and construction and civil engineering (drilling in restricted areas in buildings and tunnels and areas with difficult access where it is impossible to use conventional bulk equipment).
Contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology with a view to commercialisation.
For more information, visit the project’s page at: http://www.university-technology.com/details/plasma-channel-drilling.