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Horizontal Drilling Makes Headway in the United States

Posted on May 8, 2015

Horizontal Drilling Makes Headway in the United States

With new and innovative technology called horizontal drilling, oil and gas providers in the United States have made significant headway in the industry. In 2000, there were less than 50 horizontal drilling rigs throughout the U.S. Today, there are more than 1,200 horizontal drilling rigs. The future looks bright for the U.S. to become increasingly energy independent in the years to come.

Horizontal drilling is used to reach targets that cannot be accessed using vertical drilling. With this method, the oil well is turned horizontally once it reaches a source that also runs horizontally. Energy providers have found that drilling in directions other than vertical can help better reach targets and stimulate reservoirs in ways that cannot be accomplished with a vertical well.

This method of drilling helps reduce environmental impact while also producing significant results. For example, Pioneer National Resources, an oil and gas exploration company, produced 140,000 barrels of oil within six months using horizontal drilling. Normally, it would take about 30 to 35 years to extract the same amount oil using conventional, vertical wells.

Over the recent years, a number of other energy companies in the U.S. have begun engaging in horizontal drilling. Cunningham Energy, a producer of oil, based in Charleston, West Virginia, has recently increased its use of horizontal drilling. Earlier this year, the company began drilling its second and third horizontal wells both of which are part of the Rhino Three Well Drilling Program.