Direct Horizontal Drilling, of Alberta, Canada, was looking for a way to extend its reach at crossings, work more efficiently in poor geological formations and reduce its drilling schedules. This led the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) contractor to develop its own proprietary electro-magnetic (EM) directional tools and HDD steering system.
Wireless tooling technology has long been a staple of the oilfield drilling industry. HDD is being advanced to the point that EM technology is not only useful but a necessary aspect of projects. Tyler Calvert, Direct Horizontal Drilling’s technical manager has worked for many years to develop a system that uses the best telemetry and tracking software for HDD crossings. By using EM telemetry, and exclusive steering software, Direct Horizontal Drilling now has a tool to safely and efficiently perform HDD crossings without the liabilities of downhole wiring.
Broken into its many parts, HDD steering (pilot hole) has always been a complex, challenging and time-consuming part of any drilling project. Direct Horizontal Drilling’s wireless tooling provides a cost-effective method to provide faster drilling and operations while still maintaining the necessary accuracy that HDD demands. Drilling faster with less connection times not only benefits the hole but can reduce costs for both the drilling contractor and the client.
The EM tool and accompanying software, known as WETS, delivers the necessary down-hole data to the surface at times that rival any system in the business. The system is configurable to allow for adjustments to maintain battery life or to provide even faster data rates, all at the request of the user. Therefore, depending on the project, timeline or accuracy required, the system can be easily adapted. The system has been used at depths of 5,000 ft and was easily adapted to use in HDD crossings of up to 6,562 ft long and 656 ft deep.
Direct Horizontal Drilling’s tool uses high resolution sensors to provide the best accuracy available to today’s market. Using DC tracking coils and microcoil technology, Direct Horizontal Drilling guidance teams can guide the downhole tooling and drill string to within centimeters of a necessary target.
The benefits of this new system include creating a safer drilling operation, no wire connections, a reduction in trip times and connection times, constant pumping and one step closer to automation of HDD operations.