EDMONTON, Alberta – After months of delays through the regulatory approval process, Lightbeam Resources has been granted approval by the AER to execute a 10-well drilling program using a brand new laser drilling technology. The Calgary-based PNG startup, headed by area oil and gas tycoon, Ray Diode, plans to start drilling immediately and throughout break-up since the drilling can be executed from the air.
We have partnered with Strate Shot Laser Drilling to pioneer this new drilling technology, and we are very excited about what it will do for both companies. And since we own the patent on the technology, we expect to create a new and very lucrative revenue stream by licensing the technology out to other operators, provided we can prove it up. This could very well revolutionize the industry. Dr. Ray Diode, Lightbeam Resources President & CEO
According to a press release from Airdrie-based drilling company, the heart of the technology is a high-power, pulsed, rare-gas xenon XeF Eximer lasers in the 450 to 510 nm spectrum band, peaking at 486 nm. The bluegreen laser, which can be adjusted to any standard wellbore size, penetrates the overburden with very little effort.
One of the biggest benefits of this new technology is that expensive drilling mud is no longer necessary since there is no bit to keep cool and no cuttings to transport to surface. When asked how the new technology prevents blowouts without using drilling mud, Dr. Diode continues, “The laser actually vapourizes the rock and everything else in its path as it drills, hence the lack of cuttings. But they key is how the laser cauterizes the rock so that reservoir fluids cannot make their way to surface.”
The company also claims that it can easily implement directional and horizontal drilling using tempered mirrors, strategically positioned throughout the wellbore. But perhaps the technology’s greatest advantage is that the cauterization creates smooth wellbore that eliminates the need to run expensive casing and cement.
Oh man, this new technology is nuts – just like in the sci-fi movies. We were testing these things out in a field just south of Wabamun and all you could see was this crazy beam of light taking care of business. The test drill was eerily quiet, however, which is very, very strange for a drill. It was also very clean and the drilling “rig” was the back of my Ford f-350 dually. – Alan Geezer, field test engineer
Opponents to this new technology claim that the high temperatures achieved by the operation presents a very high risk of explosion from igniting reservoir gasses, but even they cannot deny how incredible the technology is. They deem the technology safe provided the laser is run from a far enough away distance.