Measurement and Testing
How Does Horizontal Drilling Work?
Jul 05 2014 Read 1779 Times
Horizontal drilling, also known as directional drilling, is fairly self-explanatory. The technology was first developed in the 1920’s and has advanced significantly since then. Before its innovation, it was only possible to drill in one direction: down. This new technology allows miners in the oil and gas industry to drill at a range of different angles, including horizontally. If a wellbore exceeds 80 degrees, it is considered as horizontal drilling.
Directional drilling allows multiple wells to be dug from the original vertical source which saves time, resources and is much more environmentally friendly. This method is also highly accurate and drastically reduces the risk of mistakes. Using directional drilling, many different wells can be made from one location, miles away.
How Does the Process Work?
In order to achieve the level of accuracy that only horizontal drilling provides, miners use sensors that navigate them to the best possible source of gas and oil. This combined with the intelligent drill strings that painstakingly adjust the angle and movement of the drill makes horizontal drilling a simple but efficient mining technique. The article Proliferation of Crude Oil by Rail and its Impacts provides a deeper look into the horizontal drilling process.
The Benefits of Horizontal Drilling
Horizontal drilling has been known to increase productivity by 20 times more than vertical drilling. This type of drilling is responsible for allowing thousands of feet to be reached, rather than mere hundreds. It has made a tremendous difference to the ease and efficiency of the mining industry, compared to a few years ago.
In addition, horizontal drilling is a large contributor to the lowering of greenhouse gases in the U.S. By using this innovative method, natural gas can replace coal-fired power plants, for example.
Although it hasn’t yet got the attention it deserves, horizontal drilling could potentially change the way that Hydraulic Fracturing is viewed. With this revolutionary technique, gas and oil can be collected from just one or two sites, instead of twenty. This significantly diminished the footprint left behind by tanks, chemicals and drills and reduces the potential health impact on those living nearby.
The only real downfall to horizontal drilling is the expense. But this is considered a small price to pay considering the increased productivity, benefits to the market and the overall well-being of both the miners and local residents. It is a step in the right direction towards creating a more beneficial – and healthy – mining atmosphere for everyone.
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