Horizontal and directional drilling are other methods of increasing a well's productivity while reducing the environmental footprint of an oil and gas operation. New technologies enable us to drill laterally or horizontally beneath the surface, as opposed to vertically, allowing for a wider range of possible well configurations.
Because horizontal and directional drilling methods often utilize existing vertical wellbores, additional wells may be drilled without additional disruption to the environment. Utilizing this technique also helps maximize recovery from existing reservoirs by penetrating a greater cross-section of the formation, allowing substantially more oil to be produced while reducing the total number of wells required.
A horizontal well is drilled laterally at an angle between 70 to 110 degrees. In addition to reducing the environmental impact of the drilling process, horizontal drilling is more cost-effective, uses less produced water and creates less drilling waste. Horizontal drilling may also provide access to oil and gas in thin, tight reservoirs that may be inaccessible by vertical drilling.
Directional drilling techniques create a network of separate, interconnected wellbores to enable drainage of multiple target zones. This technique is particularly effective in reservoirs having small or isolated accumulations of oil or accumulations at different depths. Directional drilling also greatly enhances offshore drilling efficiency by providing access to multiple targets from a single offshore platform.
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