Horizontal Directional Drilling

Invented in the 1920s, directional drilling or Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), as it is now known, is a trenchless technology that was originally used in oil fields to increase oil production. In the 1990’s, the horizontal technology was adapted for utility conduit installations. Horizontal Directional Drilling is also referred to as horizontal drilling, rotary drilling and sideways drilling.

Today, Horizontal Directional Drilling is widely used. HDD allows for conduit placements underneath obstacles and provides maximum protection while, at the same time, minimizing maintenance costs. HDD is used in three major industries: the oil field, the utility industry, and the environmental remediation industry. Directional Technologies, Inc. specializes in the utility industry and the environmental remediation industry.

directional drilling under a road

Directional Drill Rig Size and Push/Pull Capacities

When HDD is used to install a utility, the size and length of the conduit and the soil conditions will determine the size and push/pull capacity of the directional drilling machine that is needed. Smaller directional drill rigs can be used to efficiently install service connections to homes without the need to dig up lawns and driveways. The larger directional drill rigs can be used to cross rivers and canals. Mid-sized rigs are used to efficiently install underground utilities without disrupting traffic and open cutting roads/highways, wetlands, and streams. Conduit and soil conditions will determine the size and push/pull capacity of the horizontal directional drill rig needed. Horizontal directional drilling project sites that include rock and cobble are evaluated individually. A crew experienced in these conditions would request boring logs and visit the site to determine the appropriate equipment.

HDD Installations

Horizontal drilling can be used to install the following:

  • Oil pipelines
  • Natural gas pipelines
  • Petrochemicals pipelines
  • Water lines
  • Electric and fiber optic cables
  • Sewerage pipelines and many other products
  • Horizontal Remediation Well Systems

During the installation of a horizontal directional bore, normal business operations, as well as traffic can continue, uninterrupted. Additionally, a directional boring has a predictable and short construction schedule, as well as the least environmental impact of any construction method. Site restoration is minimal and can be used in sensitive environmental areas without disturbing wetlands and wildlife.

Horizontal Directional Drilling

Horizontal directional drilling to preserve sensitive environmental areas

The picture to the right is a horizontal directional drilling project that required Directional Technologies, Inc. to drill out 600’ into the Mount Hope Bay in Rhode Island. The bottom hole drilling assembly was cut off and drill pipe was used as a conduit for the submarine fiber optic cable.

Visit our other pages in this directional drilling section to learn about Benefits, Installation Methods, Directional Drilling Equipment, Design, Limitations, and Performance

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