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High Power Petroleum's technology in the spotlight after Cabot revival

High Power is owned by private company I-Pulse, which develops industrial applications for the high-pulse power technology
High Power's bolt from the blue boosts both production and exploration

Canada-focused oil group Cabot Energy PLC (LON:CAB) has been rejuvenated over the past 18 months.

Production has risen strongly, helped both by reworking existing wells and drilling new sidetracks.

WATCH: High Power Petroleum transforming both oil exploration and production

One piece of the story that has not been highlighted, however, is the role of High Power Petroleum, Cabot’s 58% owner and partner, in the improvement.

High Power is unusual in that not only is it an investment partner for Cabot, it also brought with it the technology that has transformed the oiler.

Scott Aitken, High Power’s founder and chief executive, explains the science as a variation of the physics equation Power = Energy divided by Time.

By reducing the time variable to a billionth of a second, for that moment, the power side of the equation gets boosted by a similar amount.

So from an electrical charge equivalent to what you have in a mobile phone, you can produce as much power as a nuclear power station for one billionth of a second.

Short, sharp, shock

Even in a very short space of time that produces a big shock and is sufficient in old wells to clear backlogs of debris and shake up a reservoir to boost production rates sharply.

That is what has been happening at Cabot, where production has risen from 250 barrels per day to 950, thanks in part to the Blue Spark technology.

In exploration situations, meanwhile, the technology acts in a similar way to seismic, producing images of ground formations and importantly what lies within them.

Aitken says Typhoon, the name of the exploration technology, can tell the difference between liquids, gas and water and enhances traditional seismic.

Industrial applications for High-Pulse Power technology

High Power is owned by private company I-Pulse, which develops industrial applications for the high-pulse power technology.

Aitken says I-Pulse wants to raise awareness of both itself and the various subsidiaries applying high-pulse power technologies worldwide.

High Power is the oil and gas arm, but I-Pulse also has divisions focused on advanced manufacturing, data analytics, mining and water exploration.

IPO possibility

Floats for one (or possibly all operating divisions) are possible with High Power potentially the first to IPO.

Already, the technology has been used in hundreds of wells ranging from onshore to deep ocean wells, which has generated a sizeable petrophysical database.

Aitken, who is a petroleum engineer by trade, says the business is now at the stage where it knows the type of geologies and reservoirs it wants to invest in and where to find them.

“Companies in jurisdictions with good geopolitical profiles and also a secondary market, so if there is a valuable increase in production it will be recognised either by market value or trade sale.”

Shop window

Cabot’s success, meanwhile, has given Blue Spark a shop window, in addition to a stake in a business that is building some serious momentum.

“We put our money where our mouth is,” says Aitken.

“The Cabot investment is very much our business model.

“We invest in assets where we see the Blue Spark or Typhoon technologies having a benefit and enjoy the growth in the value of that asset.”

Geology is important and Aitken says Canada’s fractured carbonate reservoirs are ideal for its shock treatment.

California’s sand control formations are also well-suited to high-pulse power, while the group is in the process of adapting the technology to provide shale operators a method to keep drilling in the middle of a formation.

Big discovery in Turkey

The company has already invested in a significant discovery in south-east Turkey in a formation known as the Zargos Thrust Belt that stretches into Northern Iraq and Iran and where a number of western companies have made sizeable discoveries.

Fiscal terms are much better in Turkey than Iraq, Aitken says, while its acreage is both within the Nato and the OECD catchments.

In fact, High Power is the largest foreign licence owner in SE Turkey.

It is partnering with a local Turkish operator and that is another important theme for the company.

“We invest with local operating partners who understand the geology and will benefit from the addition of our technology and capital,” he says.

“You have to have good relationships with local operators and build business partnerships with the local communities in order to have sustainably stable operations.”

Low oil prices instill tough disciplines

Remember also, he says, the company has grown through a period of very low oil prices, which has forced it to focus on low-cost production that have to be profitable and sustainable.

Aitken is encouraged with progress so far.

“We operate at both ends of the exploration & production spectrum.

“There is tremendous upside in the portfolio not just from production growth, which is the bread and butter, but also from exploration potential.”

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