GVR Report cover Air Core Drilling Market Report

Air Core Drilling Market Analysis By Application (Dust, Mist, Foam, Aerated Fluid & Nitrogen Membrane), By Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, MEA & CSA) Competitive Strategies, And Segment Forecasts, 2018 - 2025

  • Report ID: GVR-1-68038-312-6
  • Number of Pages: 100
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Industry Insights

The global air core drilling market was worth USD 900 million in 2015. The industry is expected to witness substantial growth over the next nine years owing to the rising demand for efficient extraction techniques used in oil & gas wells and mines. The regolith drilling process involves compressed air sent to the bit for pulling up the cuttings to the surface where the samples are collected for a detailed study and thus provides comprehensive extractions data.

Other forms are rotary air blast, reverse circulation (RC), and open hole compression techniques which are used for mineral exploration depending on the sample requirements. Owing to its cost-effective extraction and collection of cuttings, it can be combined with an auger, cable tool, and percussion type drilling for various types of rock beds.

Global air core drilling market by application, 2014 - 2025 (USD Million)

Global air core drilling market

Unlike the conventional rigs where the contaminated samples need further filtration and processing, this technique provides clear sample recovery without hindering the rock penetration work. Additional benefits of this technique include continuous sample returns, instant switch between complimentary drill bits, and reduced times in moving between boreholes is expected to maintain the ore grade of the mineral samples.

Air core drilling process is preferred for providing drilled cuttings faster, incurring minimal sample damages but is limited to mature geographical areas devoid of water and hydrogen sulfide zones. Concern over the health issues caused due to long exposure to metal dust, noise, and other toxic materials; there is a continuous revision of disease control and industrial safety standards.

Political economy, labor costs, access to land, and environmental regulations seem to adversely impact the global mining industry. Diminishing ore grades and surging demand in the commercial and industrial usage of energy resources are expected to drive extensive mineral exploration and mining. While the decline in commodity prices has put an adverse impact on global exploration budgets, mergers & acquisitions in the mining industry are expected to increase the global mineral exploration and mining projects.

Stringent product specifications coupled with increased demand for high-value ore grades provide an opportunity for R&D initiatives in developing efficient and durable mining equipment. Recent innovations in bit technology such as video surveillance and X-ray scanner will enable remote observation of operations and monitor the mineralogy of cuttings that are transferred to the surface. Automated field tests and real-time monitoring of sample data will help to create sample grade and risk assessment reports and curb the equipment handling risks associated with mining operations.

Application Insights

According to the ground situations, applications of air core drilling include dust, mist, foam, aerated, and nitrogen membrane. Nitrogen and mist methods are used to eliminate the risk of down-hole explosions. The aerated fluid drilling technique is implemented to reduce the mud weight to restore circulation in conventional mud systems and low-pressure formations. With an adjustable fluid/gas ratio foam drilling helps to entrain cuttings and carry them out of the wellbore without any additional equipment.

Global air core drilling market, by application, 2025

Global air core drilling market

The dust application segment dominated the global demand while accounting for around 40% of the total revenue in 2015 and is used to reduce hydrostatic pressure in the wellbore. The technology is majorly used in mature sedimentary basins that have consolidated hard rock formations without formation water.

The nitrogen membrane method is anticipated to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of 5.7% over the next nine years as it minimizes the chances of downhole fire. Membrane units reduce operating costs and transportation problems when compared to cryogenic nitrogen drilling. Weatherford owns the patent for this technique and has the largest number of on-site generated membrane nitrogen production units.

Regional Insights

North America was the leading region and accounted for 35.2% of the total industry. The regional market is characterized by technological advancements and the increasing requirements for efficient drilling techniques for regolith and loose soil hydrocarbon regions. Surging energy requirements in the region, especially in the U.S., are pushing industry participants to explore unconventional reserves. This is estimated to drive the industry growth in the region over the forecast period.

Asia Pacific is estimated to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of 5.9% from 2016 to 2025 owing to several upcoming E&P projects and large unexplored hydrocarbon reserves mainly in South-East Asia. The Middle East and Africa were other major regional market and is estimated to witness significant growth over the next nine years. Large sand hydrocarbon reserves, particularly in Nigeria and Egypt, are expected to foster the market growth in the region.

Competitive Insights

The industry is highly fragmented, and the presence of experienced players is expected to strengthen the large-scale development of drilling machines. Major industry players include Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford, Atlas Copco, and Allis Chalmers.

Harlsan is one of the leading suppliers of air-core bits and RC drill rods to major mining companies present in Africa, Asia, the U.K., Canada, and South America. Airdrill manufactures drilling and auxiliary equipment for mineral and oil & gas industries. Other players operating in the industry include San Antonio Global Ltd., Tesco and Premier Ltd., AusDrill, Master Drilling, Chicago Pneumatic, and Brown Bros.

Report Scope



Base year for estimation


Actual estimates/Historical data

2014 & 2015

Forecast period

2016 - 2025

Market representation

Revenue in USD Million & CAGR from 2016 to 2025

Regional scope

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America & MEA

Country scope

U.S., Canada, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Australia, China

Report coverage             

Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends

15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5 analyst working days)

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Segments Covered in the report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis of the latest trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this report, Grand View Research has segmented the global air core drilling market on the basis of application, and region:

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
    • Dust

    • Mist

    • Foam

    • Aerated Fluid

    • Nitrogen Membrane

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
    • North America

      • The U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • Russia

      • Germany

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • Australia

    • Central and South America

    • Middle East and Africa

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