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Hydrocarbon production with nuclear explosives

Abstract

The tremendous energy of nuclear explosives and the small dimensions of the explosive package make an ideal combination for drill-hole explosive emplacement in deep, thick hydrocarbon deposits. Potential applications exist in fracturing low permeability natural-gas and petroleum formations for stimulating production, fracturing oil shale to permit in situ retorting, and creating storage chimneys for natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, petroleum, petroleum products, helium, and other fluids. Calculations show, for example, that less than 100 shots per year would be needed to stabilize the natural gas reserves to production ratio. Under the Government-industry Plowshare program, two experiments, Projects Gasbuggy and Rulison, were conducted to stimulate natural gas production from low-permeability formations. Incomplete information indicates that both were technically successful. Potential problems associated with the use of nuclear explosives for underground engineering applications are radioactive contamination, maximum yield limitations, high costs of detonating contained nuclear explosives, and adverse public opinion. Results at Project Gasbuggy and other considerations indicated that the problem of radioactive contamination was about as predicted and not an insurmountable one. Also, it was demonstrated that shots at adequate depths could be detonated without appreciable damage to existing surface and subsurface buildings, natural features, and equipment. However, costs must be  More>>
Authors:
Wade Watkins, J [1] 
  1. Petroleum Research, Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
May 01, 1970
Product Type:
Conference
Report Number:
CONF-700101(vol.1); INIS-XA-N-228
Resource Relation:
Conference: Symposium on engineering with nuclear explosives, Las Vegas, NV (United States), 14-16 Jan 1970; Other Information: 5 figs; PBD: May 1970; Related Information: In: Symposium on engineering with nuclear explosives. Proceedings. Vol. 1, 871 pages.
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; CHIMNEYS; FIELD TESTS; HYDROCARBONS; NATURAL GAS DEPOSITS; NUCLEAR EXCAVATION; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVES; OIL SHALES; PETROLEUM DEPOSITS
OSTI ID:
20555834
Research Organizations:
American Nuclear Society, Hinsdale, IL (United States); United States Atomic Energy Commission (United States)
Country of Origin:
IAEA
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
TRN: XA04N0854010808
Availability:
Available from INIS in electronic form
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
page(s) 567-576
Announcement Date:

Citation Formats

Wade Watkins, J. Hydrocarbon production with nuclear explosives. IAEA: N. p., 1970. Web.
Wade Watkins, J. Hydrocarbon production with nuclear explosives. IAEA.
Wade Watkins, J. 1970. "Hydrocarbon production with nuclear explosives." IAEA.
@misc{etde_20555834,
title = {Hydrocarbon production with nuclear explosives}
author = {Wade Watkins, J}
abstractNote = {The tremendous energy of nuclear explosives and the small dimensions of the explosive package make an ideal combination for drill-hole explosive emplacement in deep, thick hydrocarbon deposits. Potential applications exist in fracturing low permeability natural-gas and petroleum formations for stimulating production, fracturing oil shale to permit in situ retorting, and creating storage chimneys for natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, petroleum, petroleum products, helium, and other fluids. Calculations show, for example, that less than 100 shots per year would be needed to stabilize the natural gas reserves to production ratio. Under the Government-industry Plowshare program, two experiments, Projects Gasbuggy and Rulison, were conducted to stimulate natural gas production from low-permeability formations. Incomplete information indicates that both were technically successful. Potential problems associated with the use of nuclear explosives for underground engineering applications are radioactive contamination, maximum yield limitations, high costs of detonating contained nuclear explosives, and adverse public opinion. Results at Project Gasbuggy and other considerations indicated that the problem of radioactive contamination was about as predicted and not an insurmountable one. Also, it was demonstrated that shots at adequate depths could be detonated without appreciable damage to existing surface and subsurface buildings, natural features, and equipment. However, costs must be reduced and the public must be better informed before these techniques can be widely used in field operations. On the basis of present knowledge, the potential of nuclear-explosive stimulation of hydrocarbon production appears good. Additional field experiments will be required to adequately explore that potential. (author)}
place = {IAEA}
year = {1970}
month = {May}
}