Horizontal Drilling

Definition: What is “horizontal drilling”?

For the extraction of natural gas, crude oil and geothermal energy, deposits are developed by drilling. Natural gas, crude oil and geothermal drilling is frequently performed using the rotary drilling process. In the rotary drilling process, a rotating drilling head on a drill pipe bores into the earth’s crust down to the crude oil, natural gas or geothermal deposit.

Schematic of horizontal drilling
Schematic of horizontal drilling

The application of horizontal drilling

Directly following vertical drilling, the direction of the drilling head can be changed to continue drilling “horizontally”. The exploration and extraction of crude oil and natural gas deposits is increasingly being realised by means of horizontal drilling, also in Germany.

Horizontal drilling within the deposit allows oil and gas fields to be developed with fewer bore holes. In combination with the fracking technique (see hydraulic fracturing), additional crude oil or natural gas can be extracted even from harder layers of rock.

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