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ShaCS: Shaped-Charge Stimulation for Low-Permeability Oil and Gas Reservoirs

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

George Moridis of Berkeley Lab has proposed a technology that uses the most advanced developments in shaped charges and controlled explosions to stimulate well production. The Shaped-Charge Stimulation (ShaCS) technology can replace conventional hydraulic fracturing technologies, currently the main well stimulation technique for low- and ultra-low oil and gas reservoirs.


The ShaCS technology adapts military applications of conventional shaped charges (charges shaped to focus the effects of explosive energy). ShaCS charges have designed explosion timings and sequences to create a cylindrical “rubble zone” around the wellbore. The radius of the rubble zone, a design parameter, can be predetermined and can be quite large. Such explosions can create significant fracturing and increase the fracture surface area—and consequently, fluid production / injection volume—by several orders of magnitude.

ShaCS needs no proppants and / or gels, which are used to prevent fractures from closing. Such proppant and gels coat the fracture surface and often reduce its permeability significantly. Moreover, the Berkeley Lab technology avoids the injection of water-based hydraulic fracturing fluids in low- and ultra-low reservoirs, which adversely affects the relative permeability regime.

Although hydraulic fracturing increases the flow surface area in the rock reservoirs, the technique has many drawbacks. Hydraulic fracturing induces only a few discrete fractures, and their locations, directions and extent may be difficult to control. Finally, after an initial increase in flow, oil and gas production often declines rapidly as the fluids near the fractured areas are depleted, and the low-permeability in the rock matrix does not allow reservoir fluids to flow quickly to the fractures.

ShaCS stands to make low- and ultra-low reservoirs of gas and oil more accessible and productive, thus increasing access to more of the energy in domestic reserves and thus enhancing U.S. energy independence. Additionally, ShaCS could be used in any industry that requires materials to be injected deep underground, such as carbon dioxide sequestration, enhanced geothermal systems, and others.

  • Increases fluid production / injection volume
  • Prolongs peak production
  • Eliminates need for proppant and/or gels
  • Increases access to domestic oil and gas reserves
  • Enhances U.S. energy independence and national security
Applications and Industries
  • Oilfield services
  • Oil and gas production
  • Geothermal production
  • Carbon dioxide sequestration
  • Deep subsurface waste disposal
  • Any industry requiring increased subsurface injectivity
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Shanshan Li<>