While production from unconventional reservoirs has vaulted the U.S. into the world’s leading producer, a proliferation of pay zones both around the world and in North America remain inaccessible because of the poor economics needed to produce them.

In places like the Middle East, China and South America, vast reservoirs of oil and gas are virtually locked because they are too expensive to drill, complete and produce. One of the barriers to accessing these reservoirs is the ability to quickly drill through hard rock. The time it takes to drill through hard rock strata makes hydrocarbon production not economically feasible. However, one company believes it has discovered the solution.

Particle Drilling Technologies Inc. is nearing commercialization of its Particle Impact Drilling (PID) technology that utilizes steel shot to break the rock ahead of the bit. The Houston-based company has been testing the system in the Travis Peak foundation in East Texas, and after years of trials and errors, believes it has finally found the right combination of operational efficiency and economics.

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