Horizontal Directional Drilling Process

The Horizontal Directional Drilling Process Explained

Anyone who has a well or borehole will be aware of the fact that access to underground water is achieved by sinking a vertical shaft. It is equally likely that many people have witnessed a team of workers digging a trench in order to lay a pipeline, which they later proceeded to bury. While the latter practice is still used, it has some disadvantages. An alternative method that employs the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) process is more efficient, more environmentally friendly, and more cost-effective. So, how does it work?

The technique would be impossible without the specially designed, steerable, drill train developed for this purpose. Inserted at a slight angle, the orientation of the drill bit is then controlled in real time, forcing it to follow a pre-surveyed path. Defined as the creation of any borehole at an angle greater than 80 degrees from the vertical, the horizontal directional drilling process can also be used at angles greater than 90 degrees and thus in an upward direction.

This technology is not limited to laying pipelines, however. The oil-and-gas industry has, for almost a century, relied on this technique as a means to access underground sources more completely while, at the same time, minimising the impact of its wells on the environment. Once the vertical well bore has been completed, access is extended by creating additional wells at various angles from the vertical by employing the horizontal directional drilling process. The resulting network of borings can extend for kilometres. Effectively, it’s a means to access multiple wells via a single, common wellhead.

The main strength of this technology is that any surface disruption will be eliminated or, at least, limited to a minimum. This means that it can be an especially valuable option in situations where conservation is a governing factor. Nevertheless, the horizontal directional drilling process is an exacting one, requiring skill and experience on the part of the operators. With a proven track record for quality and on-time and within-budget delivery, HPD Drilling is the preferred choice for any HDD project.