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Horizontal Directional Drilling: Techniques, Benefits and Challenges

March 20, 2014

Horizontal Directional Drilling

Drilling techniques have advanced with time, the availability of new technologies and drilling supplies, consequently leading to better drilling results while increasing efficiency and safety. Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is widely chosen for its immense benefits and effectiveness as compared to the traditional vertical drilling. Discussed here is information to offer a better understanding of HDD as well as more reasons why horizontal directional drilling is such a hit.

What is HDD?

The technique of installing underground pipes that do not require the digging up of trenches is a standout characteristic that highlights horizontal directional drilling. Firstly, an entrance bore is created, then secondly, it is reamed to achieve proper diameter and to ensure maximum productivity of the bore. Lastly, a casing pipe or whatever the end product maybe (cable, or conduit) is put in place.

Also referred to as slant drilling, HDD requires extensive coordination of pre-existing infrastructure in order to avoid damages. The use of drilling fluids also helps lessen the occurrence of clogged bores and eliminates backed-up pressure, aspects that can easily interfere with production or even lead to bore blowout.

What are the benefits?

Trench-less drilling which is the basis for horizontal directional drilling, creates minimal impact to the surrounding surface area, therefore lessening the constraints that come about from many vertical drilling projects. HDD proves valuable in those projects where excavating is not deemed practical.

Horizontal directional drilling proves to be not only cost effective and environmentally sound, but also a safe drilling technique as long as it is carried out by properly trained personnel. Knowledge is wealth and in this case a better understanding of horizontal directional drilling proves very valuable to personnel safety!

Due to the fact that water wells or oil wells do not always occur vertically, horizontal directional drilling offers a valuable solution to the dilemma of accessing wells that differ from the 'norm'. This can be achieved within a reasonable timetable.

HDD also makes it possible to install pipes, cables and even conduits across a variety of obstacles such as already existing road networks as well as across pre-existing rivers, therefore largely eliminating landscape challenges.

What are the challenges?

Mother nature can pose a considerable amount of challenges to horizontal directional drilling efforts. The type of rock formation, especially in areas where there are incomplete rock layers and voids can be very tricky to maneuver through. Experts recommend HDD to be carried out in areas that have solid rock formations to avoid the possibility of bore hole collapse. Although horizontal directional drilling is considered safe for the most part, it can present some safety issues if not properly handled.

Any precautions and solutions?

Utilizing the appropriate drilling supplies while carrying out HDD ensures that incidences such as bore hole collapse, hole blowout or even damage to already existing infrastructure are avoided. Slotted pipes and the cutting edge HDPE pipes allow drilling personnel to connect pipes where needed with minimum complications. PVC Plus Drilling Products Inc. offers these and much more!

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