Lasers have potential for rock destruction applications in mining, petroleum, tunneling, and trenching. The high temperatures induced using high power lasers cause an increase in porosity and permeability, while reducing rock strength making it easier to break-up rocks. These results are part of a more extensive research project studying the application of laser technology in the oil and gas industry. Pre- and post-lasing analysis included mineralogy determination, clay characterization and original fractures, as well as porosity, permeability. The characteristics of unlased rocks were compared to the characteristics of lased rocks in order to determine the effect the high temperature caused by lasers has on altering the rocks. Over 18 core samples where exposed to laser energy in laboratory settings. Rocks types lased include sandstone, limestone, and shale. Permeability and porosity of the reservoir rocks ranged from 0.02 to 628 md and 100% to 400%, respectively. It was found that high temperature caused by lasers enhance porosity and permeability because high temperature vaporizes or breaks cementation leading to more pore space.


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