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Proceedings Paper

Laser-rock-fluid interaction: application of free-electron laser (FEL) in petroleum well drilling and completions
Author(s): Darien G. O'Brien; Ramona M. Graves; Erin A. O'Brien
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Paper Abstract

The results of the first year of a Gas Research Institute funded research program to study laser-rock-fluid interaction will be presented. The overall purpose of this research is to determine the feasibility, costs, benefits, and the environmental impact of using laser technology to drill and complete oil and gas wells. When drilling and completing petroleum wells, many rock types (sandstone, limestone, dolomite, granite, shale, salt, concrete) and fluids (fresh water, salt water, oil, hydrocarbon gas, drilling fluids) must be penetrated by the laser. The Free-Electron Laser (FEL) technology is attractive because of the ability to tune the laser to different wavelengths. Laser energy absorbed by rocks is related to the wavelength of the laser source. The mechanisms of rock destruction (spalling, melting and vaporization) are therefore a function of the wavelength. The ability to transmit laser energy over long distances (up to 5000 m or 15,000 ft) is also a function of wavelength. Results of tests conducted at the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army's high power laser facilities are presented. The challenges ahead to advance a fundamental change in the methods currently used to drill and complete petroleum wells are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 July 1999
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3614, Free-Electron Laser Challenges II, (19 July 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.352664
Show Author Affiliations
Darien G. O'Brien, Solutions Engineering (United States)
Ramona M. Graves, Colorado Schoolof Mines (United States)
Erin A. O'Brien, Pivotal Technologies (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3614:
Free-Electron Laser Challenges II
Harold E. Bennett; David H. Dowell, Editor(s)

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