Tapping, refining, and transporting fuel are key to keeping America running. There are currently 2.5 miles of fuel pipelines moving fuel all across the United States, from source to market. Many of those sources are from a subsurface location where directional boring contractors and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) services work to liberate precious fuel from its subsurface location.
HDD Drilling Basics
HDD drilling is currently the industry standard when it comes to trenchless bore technology. With bores between two inches and 48 inches and lengths ranging from 600 to 1800 feet, horizontal boring is the most cost-effective, safe, and efficient method of extracting material from a subsurface location.
Directional Boring Efficiency
Whether the subsurface location is yielding gas or oil, directional drilling typically allows contractors to extract twice as much as they would if using traditional methods of underground drilling. This is one of the reasons the global market for HDD is forecast to reach nearly $15 billion by the year 2022.
There are typically three phases to any horizontal directional drilling work. In phase one, a pilot hole is dug along a directional path from one point along the surface to another. This allows access to the subsurface location, and in the next phase, that hole is enlarged until it can hold a pipeline of predetermined size. In the last stage, the pipeline is drawn into the subsurface location until an uninterrupted pipe is fully installed underground.
Directional Boring Materials
Boring can be done with quite a wide array of materials, from ductile iron and steel, to polyethylene and PVC. A 2017 Horizontal Directional Drilling Survey revealed that of all materials, high-density polyethylene pipe is used the most when it comes to directional boring. Nearly 50% of all directional boring drilling projects will utilize high-density polyethylene pipe.
Other Uses for HDD
HDD is not just useful for extracting oil or gas from a subsurface location. It’s also an excellent way of installing water pipes and any other underground pipes or cables. The Horizontal Directional Drilling Survey of 2017 showed that telecommunications installation and the current trend of fiber-to-the-premises, single-handedly increased the market for horizontal directional drilling by nearly 25% for the year.
For most projects that involve a subsurface location, and particularly for oil and gas extraction, directional boring is the best choice for a wide variety of soil conditions and pipe laying needs.