There is a detonator category almost unknown outside of the oil exploration industry. It is a special type of product designed for use in the high temperature/high pressure deep underground environment to initiate oil well perforators, a special type of conical shaped charge used to break through a steel well casing. Oil well detonators often have composite shells of aluminum and brass, frequently have two or three steps to the shell, and often have multiple holes through the shell.

Oil well steel casing must be explosive-perforated in multiple locations, allowing high pressure oil to flow from the rock strata up through the casing, to the surface pipe. Oil well perforators are steel conical devices with copper cone liners and high explosive charge, triggered by an oil well detonator.

They fit into a gun-like device passed down through the casing to the appropriate level deep in the well where the oil is abundant. The detonators initiate the conical perforators which punch holes through the casing wall and pressurized oil passes into the casing bore and up to the surface. The well cap is fitted with piping to draw the oil away.

Such powerful shaped charges can and have been stolen and used for illegal purposes.

Securesearch, Inc. offers several types of inert oil well detonators and oil well perforators made by major manufacturers, and inert replicas made by Securesearch, Inc.

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