Nuclear explosions are currently being planned for use in oil and gas production, recovery of oil from oil shale, gas storage, and copper leaching. The current status of each of these projects is discussed with emphasis on the economics of each application.

The first commercial application of nuclear explosives will be in gas stimulation. Project Gasbuggy is scheduled to be fired in early 1967 and will be rapidly followed by two additional shots, also in gas production. These three events, each in a different formation, are described in this paper with a discussion of their significance to the world’s oil and gas industry.

The use of nuclear explosives in oil and gas stimulation should be a standard accepted practice within a few years. Calculations based on explosions in media such as tuff, alluvium, granite, and dolomite predict large increases in productivity where nuclear devices are used in “tight,” thick formations. The broken-up rock resulting from the explosion becomes the new well bore, with a production rate of 6–12 times that of a normally completed well.

Also included in the paper is a discussion of real or possible problems associated with nuclear-explosive engineering. The only major foreseeable problem is the seismic shock wave. This limits the size of explosive which can be used near important surface structures.

A discussion is included on the radiation problem which is believed to be largely psychological in the example of contained explosions.

This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.