HDDW installation method: directional drilling


History of HDD and the invention of the HDDW technique

The technique of a horizontal directional drilling was taken from the oil industry in the 1970s. In the beginning, the technique of an HDD drill was only used to install petroleum pipes and natural gas pipes. Since the 1990s, water pipes, cables and other pipes are laid in this way as well. Horizontal directional drillings have relatively little impact on the aboveground environment. Drillings can be performed underneath existing infrastructure, watercourses, dikes or other obstacles. In 2008 a research programme together with several drinking water companies, consultancy firms and research institutes has started to find a cost effective method to install wells, using the HDD technique. The HDDW technique was invented and in 2010 the first horizontal well or HDDW was installed.

Standard steps in an HDDW installation

The first phase of an HDDW installation is the pilot drilling. During the pilot , a rig (that is a drilling machine) pushes a drilling head, followed by a drilling pipe, through the ground. Drilling fluid is applied through the drilling pipe to prevent the borehole from collapsing. The second phase of an HDDW installation is the reaming of the borehole. In this phase, the rig pulls a reamer through the borehole. Depending on the desired diameter of the production pipe, this process is repeated several times. The next step of an HDDW drilling is pulling in the casing pipe together with the filter pipe. The reamer is disconnected from the rig and the casing pipe is attached. The rig slowly pulls the pipe through the borehole. The final step completes the HDDW. The casing pipe is pulled out again, leaving the filter pipe in the borehole. While pulling out, the gravel pack is installed in the borehole and the bentonite is removed. After the filter pipe is cleaned and connected, the HDDW is ready to use.

HDDW application

Horizontal Directional Drilling Wells (HDDW) is the ideally suited method for groundwater extraction. The extraction of drinking water is one of the HDDW’s key applications. Seawater desalination for example, is a widely-used method in more arid places such as the Middle East and Australia. HDDW can also be the perfect method for infiltrating water into the soil. In the Netherlands for example, the correct drainage of rainwater is very important since the Dutch live in a marine like climate. The stored groundwater can then be ‘cleaned’ by the process of groundwater remediation. Water can also be stored underground and later be re-used for the cooling and heating of buildings (Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage). In all this cases, HDDW can be the solution. Find out more about HDDW applications on this page.

HDDW installation company Visser & Smit Hanab

Visser & Smit Hanab is one of the HDD drilling companies that has been involved in the developments surrounding this technique from the very beginning, and has become a leading authority in the field. A specialised department performs HDD and HDDW drillings on long and complex trajectories all over the world. Watch our video presentations for more information about the HDDW technique and to see an HDDW installation in practice. 49.891 - Gasleiding Bonetti Berlijn

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