12 Mar 2014 More

Horizontal Drilling Scores Big on All Fronts

posted by Brown Books @ 11:42 0 Comments

A horizontal drilling vehicle
It’s hard to believe that one of the main components in the recent shale boom, horizontal drilling (HDD), has only been around for a few short decades.  HDD has many advantages, both economical and environmental too.  Through HDD technologies, officials can avoid costly and time-consuming shutdowns of both public and private properties as well.

Think about it like this.  With new HDD technologies, no longer do huge trenches have to be dug for miles.  No more stirring up toxins at the bottom of the sea, killing off countless fish and poisoning the water.  Even with all these environmental advantages, still the battle to win over environmentalists has not been an easy one.

In the beginning

Things were not always so rosy for horizontal drilling technologies.  In the early days it was considered nothing more than a gimmick and an added expense.  Financially speaking, it was a long shot.  No one knew what challenges exactly lay beneath the ground.

The basic idea of drilling sideways goes against the laws of nature itself.  It is gravity itself working against the horizontal driller and the tunnel is always in danger of collapsing.  In fact, that’s what HDD pros call it: tunneling.  While the concept was simple enough, bringing it to fruition was another thing entirely.

HDD professionals and their roles

While HDD professionals were hoping to win over environmentalists, it’s proving to be a long hard road.  Understandably, environmentalists are naturally opposed to anything that increases the production of oil and natural gas and could be harmful to the environment.  But HDD pros say it actually has the opposite effect, being much kinder to the environment that more traditional vertical drilling.

In the early days, HDD contractors played an integral role in the development of the new technology.  They were as important to planning as the technicians themselves.  Acting a liaison between contractors and project owners, they were the eyes and ears of the new technology itself.  They were the boots on the ground, so to speak.

The term “drilling” and its misunderstandings


When we speak of drilling, it of course brings up images of mud and sticky oil and the huge environmental mess it must make.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Fluids used in the process, sometimes demonized as a danger to the environment, are anything but.  Although sometimes called by a confusing technical name, the real substances are sometimes no more harmful than salt water itself.

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