A common perception of an oil or natural gas well would be being drilled straight down into a reserve, however this is not the only solution. Wells are now commonly drilled at an angle, horizontally or even on a curve, and this is what the industry calls directional drilling.
This advanced technology helps ensure flexibility as well as accuracy in the route of the well. The need for expensive digging, large crews, and road closures is eliminated, therefore reducing costs. Directional drilling is often the best method when pitched against traditional pipe installation due the limited complications and cost reduction. Here are some of the reasons why directional drilling can be better:
All materials used during the directional drilling process use tough materials that will stand the test of time. Along with this, the risk of damage in the installation is reduced due to the accuracy of the placement of the pipes. Traditionally, when a pipe was to run over a river it would be placed under a bridge, exposed to all the elements. When pipes are directionally drilled in, protection is offered around them.
Half of the digging is cut as the well only has to be drilled across and not down, this increases the speed of the installation. Alongside that, less dirt is moved, meaning less needs to be disposed of. For a lighter job, at a place with good access, a rig can be set up ready for use in as little as an hour. Once set up, a light rig can drill 400m in one 12 hour shift, but this is all dependant on the conditions on site, including ground type and weather conditions.
Compared to traditional methods, a significant amount of money can be saved. Due to the sheer speed of the project, costs are greatly reduced. Less waste is produced so there are little disposal costs. The cost of labour is also saved due to the reduced workforce required.
Directional drilling doesn’t affect the land above it, roads are still able to handle traffic, rivers are no longer an obstacle. Traditional methods would render these areas as impossible, however they can now be utilised. No obstacle can be defeated by a directional driller.
Little Soil Contamination
Rather than moving soil around the drilling area, the soil is pushed aside of the driller, so soil contamination spreading to above ground level is very unlikely. This risk is significant using traditional methods and could harm the local environment extensively.