How Has Directional Drilling Changed Over Time?

November 22, 2019 11:50 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Directional drilling refers to boring that does not go in a straight vertical line. While there are some directional drilling techniques that have been around for 100 years, it is only recently that it maneuvers with the tight twists and turns that are possible now. Here is a brief history of directional drilling in Roseville, CA and how it affects drilling for utilities.

Early history

Directional drilling got its start in the utility industry. Martin Cherrington first developed the idea in the early 1960s after seeing another company using a handheld air drill for gas line installation nearby. He watched as they employed the concept of guided drilling and realized a horizontal version of it would be effective for utility work.

By 1964, Cherrington left his utility company employer to start building drill rigs. His first model was a lightweight device that supported the framework and rotated the drill pipe. He gained contracts with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to employ directional drilling techniques throughout the city. Since these early models lacked the magnetic steering enjoyed today, they were often bulky and difficult to maneuver. That would soon change as this invention developed in the oil and gas industry.

Technological advancement

Cherrington had the early concepts, but there was still room to advance. Most of the improvements over the decades focused on tracking and steering, which allowed for tighter turns and better placement of trenches for utility wires.

Many of these developments came from improvements in steering. This was inspired by the oil and gas industry. Tight turning drills are necessary due to the volatility of the substances and low margin of error, and contractors needed to know the location of the drill bit at all times.

The primary invention concerned magnetic steering. In the late 1980s, Tensor Corporation created a steering technology that used an artificial magnetic field. This allowed steering to be determined in relation to a source like a drill head. Contractors could verify the location of a drill below the ground and ensure improved accuracy.

This opened opportunities to develop directional drilling. It allowed for better accuracy for drilling beneath rivers and installing oil and gas lines in sensitive areas. This resulted in less environmental damage, and previously dangerous activities became safer.

The future

Development of directional drilling started in the utility sector before focusing on oil and gas. That has changed, as the technique is now very popular for installing utility lines. Consumer needs have gone beyond power and telephone lines and now include fiber optics, networks and internet access. This means that utility contractors must integrate more elements and ensure they are installed correctly and safely.

Many firms took the mantle of directional drilling to continue expanding its applications. It took off further when cities started installing fiber optics and cable lines, and there is no indication that this is slowing down. In fact, as utility needs increase, demand for directional drilling grows.

For directional drilling and utility drilling in Roseville, CA, call Es7 Comm-2 U, Inc. We offer free quotes on utility line installation and trenching. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.

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