FT. MCMURRAY, Alberta – The newly incorporated Rocket Pulverized Ground (RPG) Company announced plans to offer a cheap, efficient method of drilling shallow oil wells. RPG purchased a cache of 2 million surplus bazooka rockets left over from the Vietnam War. The shells were ordered by the US Army before it was discovered that in the 1960’s communist North Vietnam and the Viet Cong didn’t have any tanks or armoured personnel carriers to shoot them at. RPG did not disclose how much they paid for the rockets but an anonymous source put the price at $42 and a ham sandwich for the entire cache.
The drilling of oil and water wells has progressed through time from bamboo poles in ancient China to cable tools in the early 20th century to today’s rotary rigs. Some exotic methods have been either tried or proposed such as using high-power lasers or microwaves. Explosives have not been used except in specialized circumstances like fracturing a tight formation, loosening a stuck packer or clearing a mud blockage. What is different about using the bazooka shells is in the physics of a “shaped charge.” This means that the explosive is formed in a way that directs the force of the explosion in a single direction rather than omnidirectionally. A bazooka rocket can penetrate the armour of a tank by directing all its force straight ahead, magnifying its ability to penetrate.
RPG decided to see if repeated firing of shaped charges into the earth could create a wellbore. Problems were incurred such a blowback destroying the firing tube, but ultimately a system was developed that could quickly and safely fire a stream of rockets. Experimentation showed that setting surface casing and then using the RPG system was the most effective. After fully developing its technology, RPG turned its attention to marketing.
Bazooka Joe, Executive Vice President of the Fleer Bubble Gum Company, was approached by RPG for an endorsement. RPG felt it would be a natural tie-in but the board of directors of Fleer were hesitant about becoming involved in oil and gas operations. Fleer was already under pressure from environmentalists for all the bubble gum that was stuck to the bottom of everyone’s shoes and under the table at every fast food establishment in the world. A decision is pending.