Horizontal and vertical drilling are two different drilling techniques used to explore and develop oil and natural gas properties. Horizontal drilling has gained market share over the last few years and is now the dominant form of drilling in the United States, according to Baker Hughes, which maintains industry data on rig counts.
Vertical drilling involves drilling a well straight down into the earth until the drill bit reaches the formation being developed. The well is then completed and starts producing oil or natural gas.
According to the Schulmberger Oilfield Glossary, horizontal drilling involves drilling a well to a predetermined depth based on seismic and other geological data and then turning the well horizontally to a set lateral length. The well is then completed and production of oil and natural gas begins. This is sometimes referred to as directional drilling.
As of April 2010, there were 749 horizontal rigs, 225 directional rigs and 502 vertical rigs drilling for oil and gas in the United States, according to Baker Hughes.
Vertical vs. Horizontal Drilling
Wells drilled horizontally are much more productive than vertical wells because of extended contact with the formation. This leads to greater reserves and production of oil and gas, reports S. D. Joshi of Joshi Technologies International, Inc.
Importance of Horizontal Drilling
Horizontal drilling has been around for many years, but the application of this type of drilling in combination with hydraulic fracturing of unconventional oil and gas formations has led to the development of large amounts of oil and natural gas in the United States.
- Photo Credit Texas Oil Derrick image by bawinner from Fotolia.com
Facts About Oil Drilling
The first modern method of oil drilling developed by Edwin L. Drake in 1859 is still being used to this day, though...
What Is Horizontal Drilling?
As the world's demand for more oil and gas supplies increase, the drilling industry has been forced to find new ways to...
Vertical vs. Horizontal Blinds
Vertical and horizontal blinds can be used as stand-alone window coverings or accented with drapes, curtains or valances. Price, aesthetics and window...
How to Drill Straight Without a Drill Press
Drilling straight, 90-degree angle to a wall, without a drill press may come up more often than you think. Whether you have...
Vertical Vs. Horizontal Financial Analysis
Publicly listed companies that present their operating data in a clear, concise format generally win praise from investors and regulators. These firms...