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Currently, the petroleum industry is testing high power lasers as drilling tools. The use of these lasers for this application has two main reasons: (i) to increase the efficiency of well drilling (higher penetration rate) and (ii) to improve the control of the geometry of the hole in the casing during the perforation process of the well. The present thesis has the purpose of contributing to the laser perforation technology in carbonate rocks by developing techniques to increase the volume of rock removed by unit of time. The thermo-mechanical behavior of the carbonate rocks was studied when a laser is used as the drilling tool in the perforation process. This knowledge, obtained through experiments and simulations, supplied data for the optimization of the drilling parameters. Both static (the laser beam does not move) and dynamic (the laser beam moves in a spiral trajectory) drilling conditions were investigated. Also investigated were drilling conditions under atmospheric pressure and under high pressure, where a pressure chamber designed to emulate pressure conditions of reservoirs was used. Experimental tests were performed by laser drilling samples made of Bege Bahia rock. This rock is used to simulate rocks found in pre-salt reservoirs. The analysis of these samples was performed through inspection and microtomography characterization, allowing the observation of properties of the rocks and of the heat affected zone (HAZ), geometric
characteristics of the hole, and values of the drilling specific energy. These results were compared to the results obtained by simulations. In the numerical modeling, the perforation process was simulated with the finite element method through a transient axisymmetric thermo-mechanical elastic model that verified the drilling conditions. The numerical model allowed the observation of the behavior of the tensions and temperatures in tests involving high temperatures and pressures. These properties are usually difficult to measure in experimental tests and, therefore, were not measured during the experimental tests discussed in this thesis. Also obtained by numeric modeling were: properties of the rock and of the HAZ, geometric
characteristics of the hole, and values of the drilling specific energy. The numeric results obtained were compared to the experimental results. The results obtained showed that the dynamic drilling condition is able to remove a larger amount of material and produce a larger HAZ, compared to the static condition, thus generating a better time x power relation. The static and dynamic tests allowed reaching more efficient conditions for rock drilling. The analysis of the tension of the model showed a compatible correlation with the damage profile found in the experimental tests.