Directional Drilling: What Makes This Process Valuable

November 5, 2019

There are multiple ways in drilling holes just to access natural resources reservoir. One of them is directional drilling.

What is Directional Drilling?

Directional drilling is a modern drilling technique wherein an underground location is bored at multiple angles that are usually non-vertical and includes horizontal drilling. This technique is often used to retrieve oil and natural gas buried underneath the land surface. Huge companies have been practicing directional drilling for over a century now.

What makes directional drilling a successful feat in engineering is that it is more practical and convenient compared to the conventional vertical drilling. Directional drilling can access multiple points of an oil or gas reservoir that can produce more natural resources than drilling a single well directly above that area. Moreover, a single origin site from directional drilling can service multiple wellbores, eliminating the need to create multiple origin sites above the surface.

As an illustration, the outcome of directional drilling can be directly compared to a tree. Tree roots, as well as their branches, go into multiple directions underneath the surface to find the most optimum source of water and nutrients. This is the same with directional drilling, where a drill can go to any multiple pathways underneath to effectively access the reservoir. The roots and its branches altogether are all under one trunk, a direct equivalent to the rig part of the drilling equipment.

What are the Uses of Directional Drilling?

Apart from accessing multiple points from a single location, directional drilling has more benefits that make it important.

  • Multiple Target Areas: Through accessing different surface locations, this makes the chances of finding resource areas significantly higher than by drilling a single target area. Just imagine sticking a straw to your cold beverage filled with ice. Some portions of your drink are inaccessible by drinking on a vertical-drilling straw.
  • Sidetracking: Directional drilling can also help you steer away from irremovable obstructions. You have the option to sidetrack the drillings to still get to the direction of the resource area.
  • Relief Well Drilling: A wild well results in an uncontrolled release of oil or gas from an opening. With directional drilling, a second opening is drilled so that it can intercept the same path where the original wellbore meets the resource area. Once the new opening is completed, kill fluid is then injected to kill the wild one. There are some instances, however, that mud and water are already enough to stabilize the wild one if the release can still be controlled.

How Directional Drilling Works?

Drillers and engineers who use the equipment for directional drilling rely on the survey data being sent back to them to see the direction and distance of the drilling equipment since it is located underneath the land surface. This is possible with the inputs from the software that uses multiple measurements while drilling (MWD) sensors, electromagnetic MWD, and Global Positioning Sensors (GPS) in the drill bit. The same drill bit also has vibration sensors to determine the type of object being drilled at any point.

To make a drill turn, the downhole drilling motors will drive the drill bit in directions that are different from the conventional drilling starting point. Depending on the drilling requirements, turbo drills and rotary steering drills can be installed to get the job done. To effectively affect the rotational speed of the drill, a high-pressure nozzle will then shoot water or drilling fluid to weaken the surrounding area. Another method for this is to use a whipstock, a type of wedge that can change and serve as a guide to the drill’s direction.

There are more things you need to know about directional drilling. To know more about this, you can contact Metro Pits as our pool of experts can provide all the answers you need.

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