UPDATE! ALTHOUGH THIS PROCESS SEEMS TO BE VERY INTERESTING, CHIMERA ENERGY CORP APPEARS TO BE UP TO NO-GOOD!
Chimera Energy Corp (CHMR), based in Houston, Texas, is a publicly-traded company whose primary business focus has been the supply of polycrystalline Diamond Cutters (PDCs). In recent years the company has been quietly developing a new "Exothermic" fracking process based on using helium instead of water.
The impact on the oil and gas industry could be huge! The new process does not use steam, LPG gel, natural gas or the pumping of anything hot into the well. Helium is an inert gas and is neither toxic nor caustic in any way. This could open up a whole new era in shale extraction and permanently change where and how drillers go after oil and gas.
Helium is the second most abundant element in the known universe and the United States produces more than 90% world's reserves of the element (Algeria is the #2 producer). It is a natural by-product of the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium and can represent as much as 7% of the volume of a natural gas deposit. Unlike any other element, helium will remain liquid down to absolute zero at normal pressures and expands (up to 755%) as its temperature drops. It's colorless, odorless, non-flammable and non-toxic, so there are no direct environmental downsides to its use in fracking.
The United States government began stockpiling helium reserves in 1925 and by 1995 a billion cubic meters were in the reserve storage facility in Amarillo Texas. At that time the stockpiling operation had a $1.5 billion deficit, which prompted Congress to pass a bill ordering the entire reserve to be sold off beginning in 2005. In the period between 2002 and 2007 helium prices doubled due to increasing demand and at the current rate of consumption it will become too expensive for many uses (like party balloons) within 25 years.
Chimera's stock price jumped more than 85% in the 72 hours following the announcement that PEMEX has decided to use CHMR’s new system on three wells in the Chicontepec Basin, totaling more than 139 billion barrels of oil. Dr. Nestor Romero, Commissioner of Hydrocarbons of Mexico, was recently quoted as saying the non-hydraulic extraction method is a "game-changer for Mexico".
The "announcement" news about PEMEX has since been reported as a "Pump & Dump" scam of some sort, so beware! PEMEX has denied the contract as fabrications!
This development could vastly expand the areas where drillers can go after oil and gas, reduce production and extraction costs and might extend the life of the current oil boom by years, if not decades.