Directional Drilling Companies in South Africa

The Role of Directional Drilling Companies in South Africa

When most people think of a commercial drilling project, they are inclined to picture it as a vertical process. Whether prospecting for oil or attempting to access the water from an underground aquifer, the engineers concerned will start by sinking a vertical borehole. Those same people would, no doubt, be surprised to learn just how much demand there is for the services of directional drilling companies in South Africa.

There are many reasons why it may be necessary to create a horizontal borehole and to do so requires both a special rig and a specialist team to operate it. The process is mainly employed when it is required to lay an underground pipeline and excavating an open trench is not a practical option. Furthermore, the absence of excavation work makes it a good choice in situations where it is essential to minimise disruption. In such cases, the role of directional drilling companies in South Africa is to create the passage for pipelines beneath structures such as railways, highways, waterways, and airport runways, as well as residential and commercial premises. In environmentally sensitive areas, it also ensures such tasks will be as unobtrusive as possible.

The process is effective for all types of soil, from soft sand, clay, and gravel to shale and rock, and the mobile rig features a steerable drill string. After determining the proposed path, it is inserted at an angle of between 5° and 20° until it reaches the specified horizontal depth, at which point the angle is increased to 90°. To keep track of the path, the top directional drilling companies in South Africa track its position from above with a walk-over locating system. A transmitter located behind the drill head transmits an electric pulse through the ground to the locating device above. This provides the operator with information about its angle, depth, direction, etc. Alternative systems that are gyro-based or employ a wireline to eliminate possible interference are also available.

This, however, is just the first stage of the process employed by directional drilling companies in South Africa. Though this provides an initial borehole, its diameter is small and will need to be enlarged to accommodate the pipeline. So, at the end of its travel to the exit point, a back reamer is attached to the drill string, which is then pulled back to the entry point, enlarging the borehole along the way.

To sum up, the process of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) described above is a quick, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly alternative to excavation and restoration. The service is available from HPD Drilling, one of the leading directional drilling companies in South Africa.