There are 4 Stages in the Horizontal Directional Drilling Process. Directionally drilling the pilot hole Stage 1 – Drilling the Pilot Hole Stage 2 – Pre-Reaming the horizontal boring Stage 3 – Pullback Operations Stage 4 – Installation of Conduits Stage 1 of the Horizontal Directional Drilling Process – Drilling the Pilot Hole
Horizontal Directional Drilling or HDD, is a steerable trenchless method of installing underground pipe, conduit, or cable in a shallow arc along a prescribed bore path by using a surface-launched drilling rig, with minimal impact on the surrounding area. Directional Drilling is used when trenching or excavating is not practical.
Briefly, the HDD process begins with boring a small, horizontal hole (pilot hole) under the crossing obstacle (e.g. a highway) with a continuous string of steel drill rod. When the bore head and rod emerge on the opposite side of the crossing, a special cutter, called a back reamer, is attached and pulled back through the pilot hole.
Sometimes horizontal directional drilling is the only possible way to tap a reservoir, such as the case of dilling under a town or nature reserve. Other times it’s a cost-saving exercise, to drill under a salt dome or mountain. Lastly, drilling horizontally can be the best way of maximising extraction by reaching more sections of a reservoir.
Directional and horizontal drilling have been used to reach targets beneath adjacent lands, reduce the footprint of gas field development, increase the length of the pay zone in a well, deliberately intersect fractures, construct relief wells, and install utility service beneath lands where excavation is impossible or extremely expensive.
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