How Is Directional Drilling Done? A Guide for Dummies

Did you know that by 2026, the worldwide market for directional drilling services will reach US$ 11330 million?

Since the 1920s, directional drilling has been an important aspect of the oil and gas business. While technology has advanced over time, the principle of directional drilling has not changed.

Sensors and advanced global identification technology have brought directional drilling to the fore. The angle of a drill bit is now adjusted with extreme precision using real-time technology. That gives a variety of options for dealing with drilling problems, boosting efficiency, and lowering costs.

What is directional drilling? What is it used for? How does a directional drill work? We answer common questions asked about directional drilling here.

What Is Directional Drilling?

Directional drilling is a method used by big corporations to access subsurface sources of oil, gas, and other substances. Because the location of most wells is above the desired reservoir, you must access them by drilling down to the well below.

But, directional drilling is distinct in that it entails drilling at a non-vertical inclination. That also includes horizontal drilling.

There is one fundamental advantage of directional drilling. That is that it allows corporations to use a single well to access various reserves. This lowers the overall cost of drilling while also reducing the environmental effect of drilling.

How Directional Drilling Works

When the reservoir has an unusual form and you find vertical access impracticable, directional drilling may be the way to go. People living near a surface drill site often raise issues of the impact of drilling sites. In these cases, directional drilling is the preferred method rather than vertical entry.

Directional drilling may make the extraction process less intrusive. That’s achieved by decreasing the number of surface wells utilized.
 Directional drilling allows access to many subterranean reservoirs from a single well site.

As a result, corporations may be free to explore smaller, less-proven sources that would otherwise be too expensive to reach.

Also, directional drilling may help improve site safety as well. Directional drilling omits the dangers of gas ruptures when establishing a new well by drilling well ahead of the mine face in question.

Directional drilling began using the same simple equipment as vertical wells. The only difference being that the drilling of the hole is at an angle.

Today the introduction of bendable drill bits has improved the existing directional drilling. These bendable drill bits have made it easier to accommodate non-vertical angles. More technologies, such as sonde transmitters that change and steer the direction of the drill, have aided in the process.

All these new technologies have increased the process’s efficiency and dependability.

How Do Sonde Transmitters Work?

How a sonde transmitter works? You find the transmitter, or sonde, located behind the drill head. It transmits an electromagnetic signal to a receiver located on the surface through the earth. The signal contains information on the angle, direction, rotation, and other factors.

Drill operators may now change the angle of the drill bit point in live time using computers. They can even use GPS signals to locate subsurface sources of oil, gas, and other substances field’s precise position.

Engineers may develop 3-D models of oil deposits using powerful software tools to find the best position for the drill. Also, to locate the best potential entry location for directional drilling.

What Are The Benefits of Directional Drilling

The increased production potential is one of the primary benefits of directional drilling. The following are some of the advantages of horizontal directional drilling.

Quicker Installations

An obvious benefit is faster installations. Drilling down under the soil, rather than across, as with conventional open-cut techniques, speeds up the operation.

Since you move less soil, less has to be reburied, and you need to dispose of less. You double your time savings.

Lower Costs

There is less equipment required as you do not rely on backhoes and other heavy equipment rentals. That means lower costs as opposed to open-cut mining, which needs much more equipment.

Less Disruption and Environmental Impact

Directional drilling requires minimal soil displacement. It does not need to bore the whole length of the pipe or line into the surrounding area. That is why you will retain the original surrounding landscape. And this will have less impact on the environment.

The Flexibility of Drilling Location

Directional drilling allows drilling under obstacles which are an issue. For instance, if you need to drill in an area where the pipe must curve, horizontal drilling allows for all this.

What Are The Challenges of Directional Drilling

Directional drilling does need a greater degree of technology than a straight drilling process. Equipment for determining the direction and angle of the hole must be accessible.

One issue with directional drilling is the frequent direction shift. Either vertically or horizontally. Too many vertical direction shifts may result in:

  • Penetration of the top or bottom layer by the wellbore
  • Penetration of a gas cap or a water leg

Drilling without unanticipated complications requires further training for the rig crew and drillers. The wells are far more challenging to design and need to design the program and hole route appropriately.

With expensive equipment in the hole, stuck pipe and other problems are much more expensive. The leasing of equipment for telemetry and directional drilling adds to the daily rig expenditures. To maximize the economic advantages of directional drilling, you must reduce downtime or delays in drilling.

On the other side, directional drilling may complicate well operations, especially if the well is drilled at an angle of more than 40 degrees.

More For Less!

Directional drilling improves mineral, oil, and gas production efficiency. It also reduces the drilling’s environmental effect on the surroundings.

Directional drilling is also used in other industries. Such as the construction industry, where utility piping is laid horizontally underground, such as water pipes and the like.

Directional drilling has been around for some time. The methods used have basically stayed the same. However, new technologies have boosted the technique’s precision and safety.

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