Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Benefits Of Horizonal Drilling

By Eliza Mendoza

When oil and gas mining multinational and other mining firms makes statement that their survival will be impossible without horizonal drilling, it is not just a statement but the truth. This form of technology is what keeps these firms going. Initially associated with heavy investment, the costs are quickly absorbed when the well starts becoming productive.

In case you are wondering how it is achieved, here is a little guide. The most common way is to first drill a vertical well running to where the targeted rock is located. The drill pipes are withdrawn at this point and replaced with a hydraulic motor. This is attached to the drill pipes at one end and drill bit at the other end. It rotates the drill bit while the drill pipes remain unmoved allowing for deviation of the drill from vertical orientation to the horizontal orientation.

In order for its success, a number of gadgets and related devices have to be used particularly to determine the azimuth and orientation. These instruments are used to provide information necessary to guide the drill bit to the desired targets.

This is a very expensive method of making a well. In fact, it is estimated that the cost of boring together with hydraulic fracturing per foot is three times more expensive than the vertical burrowing. However, the cost recovery and the general gains associated with it normally make the process worthwhile.

There are many answers to this question, and here are a few. First, it gives the alternative way of mining deposits that occurs under surface features that do not permit vertical burrowing. This includes cities, parks, a number of treasures and indeed some natural features. The solution lies in making a vertical drill at the edge of that city of feature and proceeding with the horizontal burrowing to the mineral reserve.

Other than this, the surface area that can be drained through this method is larger from just a single drill from the surface. This greatly reduces the number of surface footprints making it environmentally friendly. Burrowing through the rock horizontally also means increased pay zone, particularly when the targeted rock is not too thick.

The other advantages associated with horizonal drilling are increased pay zone area, possibility of intersecting reservoirs particularly if they have features, ease of accessing out-of-control mines like those with pressure build up and allows installing underground facilities that facilitate excavation.

The rock permeability and fluid viscosity are also issues that can be sold with this mining method. In highly impermeable rocks, highly viscous fluids hardly move about. The effect is that the fluid can only be accessed when the drill is close enough. The horizontal drill allows closer location of drill and fluid flow by gravity into drills hence increased productivity. Mining in this case could have been an issue if vertical means was used.

Looking at the merits with which horizonal drilling comes with; it is easy to understand why a number of large mining firms says that they could not survive if not for this method of boring holes into the ground. Initial cost is expensive; the benefit however exceeds making it a worthy investment.

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