Horizontal well drilling. Horizontal directional drilling. Horizontal drilling technology

Horizontal well drilling. Horizontal directional drilling. Horizontal drilling technology
Horizontal well drilling. Horizontal directional drilling. Horizontal drilling technology

Drilling is an integral part of the construction of various kinds of structures, industrial and residential buildings. In addition, this operation is indispensable in cases where it is necessary to establish water supply for a detached house, to which they are not going to lay a central water supply in the foreseeable future. Separately, it is worth noting horizontal well drilling, which has been increasingly used in recent years.

horizontal well drilling

What is this?

To explain in a nutshell, this method allows you to drill wells for some communications so that trenches and soil dumps do not form. For this purpose, special installations are used that are able to break through the soil of any hardness without damaging the topsoil. The duration of such a trench can reach several kilometers!

To perform horizontal well drilling,UGNB-4M or UGNB-3M4 installations are used, the capabilities of which make it possible to turn a “puncture”, the diameter of which is only a few millimeters, into a trench with a diameter of 450 mm or more. After that, pipes made of high-pressure polypropylene or metal are brought into the well.

Why is horizontal drilling so popular?

From a technical point of view, horizontal wells have a huge number of advantages over classical methods of work. A huge plus is that this method of drilling does not imply the destruction of the upper soil layer. This gives a unique opportunity to lay wells under water bodies and areas with loose soil. In addition, horizontal drilling technology involves the laying of pits under power lines or oil pipelines.

It should be noted that other drilling methods are generally unacceptable in densely populated areas, as well as, if necessary, conducting communications under overpasses, bridges and other important structures.

horizontal directional drilling

The bureaucratic side of the issue

It is not surprising that all the above advantages contribute to the many-fold simplification of obtaining all the documents necessary for carrying out work in bureaucratic lobbies. This is largely due to the fact that there is no need to block traffic for punching horizontally located pits, which is especially true for large cities where horizontal drilling for pipe laying is used everywhere.

Even if close to the surface of the earth is locatedgroundwater mirror, this is not an obstacle to drilling. Since today sophisticated computer equipment is used for this purpose, the operator can drill with millimeter deviations without hitting the aquifer.

Economic aspect

If we talk about the economic side of things, then in this case, this method has a lot of advantages. So, one installation of horizontal directional drilling helps to reduce the number of personnel required for work by several times, which allows saving on wages. So, in most cases, a team of three people will be enough for drilling. Compare this to conventional pit-laying, when more than a dozen laborers alone can be required!

Because horizontal drilling takes little time, the estimated cost can be significantly reduced. The cost of tools, equipment and food for technicians will be minimal. If you receive all the necessary approval documents, learn in advance about all the cables available in the ground, you will also be relieved of the need to repair damaged communications that were laid earlier at your own expense.

In addition, the horizontal drilling method helps to lay a pipe under a busy highway in a couple of hours without destroying its coating.

What are the stages of the work?

In order for the work to be done with the highest quality, it is required to perform all the steps below in a clear sequence.

  • First, all the equipment is prepared, but before that they domandatory soil sampling for analysis.
  • They make a "puncture", otherwise called a pilot well.
  • The diameter of the puncture is gradually increased.
  • Pipes are pulled into the resulting trench.
  • At the final stage of work, the resulting communications are checked and accepted.
horizontal wells

We remind you once again that horizontal well drilling requires strict adherence to the instructions, otherwise problems may arise. To better understand the very principle of such drilling, let's dwell a little more on each stage.

Initial drilling

As we have already said, it is necessary to study the properties of the soil in the place where you are going to start laying the well. The composition of the soil must be known in detail, since the depth of laying communications completely depends on this. To find out the degree of soil density, experts conduct directional sounding. Once the tests are done, you can get all the necessary work permits from your local government. At the next stage, horizontal well drilling involves the laying of a so-called pilot well.

Trial "puncture"

That's it, after that, the laying of a trial, pilot well begins. As a rule, a small diameter drill head is used for this. Its advancement is easy to control: the head is connected to a rod, the movements of which allow you to flexibly adjust the trenching. The rod itself is a pipe, each section of which can reach three meters, andthe diameter is 60-80 mm. Since sections can be connected to each other, they can be increased if necessary.

Since it is often necessary to go through layers of very hard soil with an abundance of stones, we would recommend purchasing diamond-coated drill heads and made of especially hard alloys. Despite their high cost, you will quickly return the money, as conventional models fail very quickly in difficult conditions.

The most difficult thing when drilling is to follow the route laid out by engineers as accurately as possible. Recently, horizontal directional drilling has been most commonly used, which greatly facilitates this difficult task.

horizontal drilling technology

What is directional drilling?

The point is in a special drill head: a transmitter is built into it, the signal from which is displayed on the operator's receiving equipment. As soon as the route deviates from the planned by even a few millimeters, a warning is immediately displayed on the display. Since any drilling involves the risk of soil destruction and collapse, bentonite (a special cementing mortar) is used to protect against such unpleasant consequences.

In particular, horizontal drilling under the road necessarily implies its use, since without a solution, the pit will almost certainly fail under the weight of the road surface and from the vibrations of passing cars.

How is a test well expanded?

horizontal drilling for pipe laying

We are alreadymentioned that after the "puncture" the test well needs to be expanded to a larger diameter. To do this, use a special expander. Important! It is pulled in the opposite direction, moving from the end of the drilled well to its beginning. The principle of its operation is similar to that for a drill: when moving, the tool rotates, cutting off excess soil layers.

Pay attention! In order to freely stretch the pipe through the resulting well, the diameter of the expander must exceed its size by approximately 30-35%. In addition, if the diameter of future communications is too large, it is not allowed to immediately run a large diameter tool through the well. In this case, several dilators are sequentially pushed through the puncture, gradually increasing their diameter.


Almost any horizontal directional drilling ends with the laying of pipes through the resulting trench. The process itself is quite interesting. Again, an expander is pulled from the end of the well. A pipe clamp is attached to it. Accordingly, with the help of monitoring equipment and an operator, the pipe is pulled along the well in the right direction. The operator can adjust the guide bars at any time, correcting any deviation from the previously plotted course.

Which pipes can be used?

At the very beginning of the article, we already noted that polymer pipes are most often used. There are several reasons for this. First, they are much more durable than their metal counterparts. In addition, polypropylene is able to retain almost decadesabsolute chemical stability. Simply put, such plumbing will not emit any harmful substances into the water.

However, there are also cases when it is more desirable to use metal varieties. We are talking about laying communications through which liquids of high temperature will pass, as well as chemically aggressive compounds. Many plastics in such conditions do not withstand for a long time, they begin to crumble and collapse. The figure shows the simplest design of a horizontal well.

horizontal drilling under road

Final stage of work

When all the tasks laid down at the beginning of work are completed, it is time to prepare all the required documents and hand over the finished object for acceptance to the customer. Only qualified engineers have the right to do this, who can make a technical justification for all the measures taken. This requirement is also connected with the fact that the laid communications must necessarily have an exact reference to the terrain, displayed in the documentation attached to the submitted project.

What settings are used when doing the work?

It should be noted that today there are dozens of models of such equipment, which are classified according to many parameters. In addition, in the catalogs of the largest industrial companies, you can find hundreds of varieties of interchangeable drill heads with emitters of different power, replaceable carbide guide rods with increased strength, etc.

Alas, but our companies are engaged in the release of thisequipment only in the mid-2000s, when the market was already occupied by products from Germany, the USA and France. However, today this is largely offset by the fact that in terms of strength characteristics and cost, any Russian-made horizontal drilling rig is able to outperform its foreign counterparts.

Most often, construction companies in our country buy them. The reason is not even in the support of domestic manufacturers, but in the excellent adaptation of Russian models to domestic conditions. This is very important, because in the conditions of the north, imported drilling equipment often breaks down faster than its Russian counterparts. Considering the large price difference, the savings are substantial in the long run.

In addition, for domestic equipment, it is much easier and cheaper to get both consumables and spare parts in case of a breakdown.

Frequently used patterns

The most promising today are drilling rigs of the following models:

  • UGB-2M4, UGB-2MG. Differ in extreme compactness and low price. Ideal for small construction companies, do not require large staff training costs.
  • UGNB-3M4, UGNB-4. These units are somewhat more expensive, but they almost completely repeat the capabilities of much more expensive imported units. It is also important that they are ideally suited for the harsh climatic conditions of our state.
horizontal directional drilling rig

Note thatyou in any case to train drilling operators, and the training should be carried out on the most realistic and modern simulators. Given that sometimes you have to lay pits in millimeters from some dangerous objects (high voltage cables, for example), such thoroughness does not look like a waste of money. This is especially important when using foreign drilling rigs, as their control displays are not always simple and intuitive.

It should be noted that all costs are instantly "rebuffed". Imagine how much money you save by laying pipes under roads or buildings in no time! In the case when classical drilling methods are used, sometimes it takes more than one month to get documents approved!

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