Pipe Jack has now diversified into the horizontal drilling field utilizing both the Grundomat® Hammers and the Bor-It® tunneling machine instruments in order to carry out micro tunneling procedures for clients. Work for these types of machines has been carried out throughout South Africa and in all different types of soil conditions under the company with employees of over 10 years experience in the micro-tunnelling field.
Horizontal drilling is a form of directional drilling. In order to tap the natural gas, typically a drill is sent down vertically a distance up to a mile or so underground and then turned at a ninety degree angle horizontally into the shale. Specialized drilling rigs are commonly used for each of the vertical and horizontal segments of the well. By using horizontal drilling, the drill bit can penetrate a much greater number of pockets of natural gas than it ever could with vertical drilling. On the average, horizontal wells produce three to five times the amount of natural gas that vertical ones do.
Marcellus shale tends to be located between approximately five and eight thousand feet below ground although it can be at even greater depth.
Layers of natural gas-bearing shale lay on horizons – these are the rock formations arrayed like stacked pancakes--one on top of the next. Greater well bore exposure to a formation such as the Marcellus or Uticashale can be achieved by turning the drill bit into a horizon and then drilling sideways rather than merely vertically. Shale gas tends to be trapped in exceedingly small pockets and joints in the shale rock which cannot be efficiently released from formation until the well subsequently is hydro-fractured.
Horizontal drilling rigs can drill down up to 10,000 feet vertically to the Marcellus or other shale, and then turn horizontally for a few thousand additional feet. The horizontal portion of the well bore is referred to as a lateral. Well pads are around 5 acres with up to 6 horizontal wells stemming from the same pad.