Lateral Drilling System

The Lateral System

The lateral drilling process is best understood by relating the technology to ultra-slim hole horizontal drilling.  In general, the lateral drilling technology is employed to expose new well bore surfaces to enhance the production of oil and gas wells.

The method in which this process produces new surface exposure is known as an "ultra-short radius lateral drilling".  There are two major requirements in the method to produce the horizontal holes, i.e., casing cutting and horizontal borehole hole formation.

The casing opening is accomplished by mechanical means designed to be compatible with the standard workover rigs.  The formation holes are produced by use of ultra high-pressure jet cutting system.  The opening of the casing and hole formation are unique and are supported by a simple and dependable "one trip" guidance system.

The purpose of the lateral drilling system is to be very efficient in the development of the lateral borehole holes.  The lateral system will be employed in non-economic wells.  Therefore, it is imperative that the most efficient use of the rig time is realized.

High pressure jetting is accomplished by use of a 20,000 p.s.i. pumping system.  Special jet are located in the nozzle assemblies in which the drilling rate is very rapid.  The one important feature is to enter the well on one trip and produce two lateral holes.  The method in which the one trip per two lateral holes is accomplished with the mill/jetting nozzle assembly.  The casing can be parted and the holes are extended with the same bottom hole assembly as used in the guidance system.  The holes can be inspected and surveyed for angle of inclination and the exact location of the hole bottom can be determined.

  • Jet drilling also provides a method in which the hole enlargement can be accomplished.
  • Jet drilling requires high pressure but very low volume for operation.  The tubular string then can be smaller, thereby, causing a smaller hole to be drilled.  Jet drilling can be adjusted to meet the most efficient drilling rates and parameters.
  • Jet drilling can be adjusted to meet the most efficient drilling rates and parameters.
  • Due to small diameter tubular size (nozzle extension tubes) short radii into the formation can be accomplished.
  • Cleaning of the borehole is accomplished by changing the drill cuttings to a different shape and overall size.
  • Guidance of the nozzle and drill string is accomplished by use of the high-pressure fluid. 
  • To provide a method in which the physical testing of the well can be accomplished prior ot the removal of the downhole drilling components.
  • To provide a method in which external gravel packing can be accomplished outside the main vertical borehole.
  • To provide a method in which the stability and predictability of the operation is not setting anchors in casing but performing through a duct string of tubing.
  • To provide a method of under-balance drilling in which the formation cutting can be accomplished in an under balance condition for an increase in the productivity of the wells.
  • History and recent developments have developed a clear path regarding the requirements of an appropriate well completion.  The industry has based their well completion methods on standard penetrating.
  • Lateral drilling provides a different approach to the completion and enhancement of oil and gas wells.  There are many reasons to eject jet drilling as a basis to penetrate the formations.  However, the following illustrates the advantage of jet drilling.

Advantages of Jet Drilling:

  • Jet drilling fluids are also completion fluids which are filtered on the surface and two additional times downhole.  The fluids, which enter the formation, are very clean due to the  fact that tubing scale and other foreign materials have been removed from the pressure stream.
  • Jet drilling provides an excellent candidate to transmit high horsepower into restricted areas without the use of inefficient downhole motors and bits.
  • Hole size enlargement can be accomplished without the enlargement of stabilizers, bits, drill collars, or other mechanical reaming methods.

Slight torque requirements are required for jet drilling, due to the fact that the drilling nozzle assembly does not make contact with the formation.  Drilling is accomplished before the nozzle makes contact.

Goals and Objectives of Lateral Drilling:

  • To provide a method in which high horse power can be conveyed to the formation without sacrificing efficiency such as pressure loss, excess fluid delivery, and inefficient cutting means.
  • To provide a system which is compatible with standard workover and drilling procedures and equipment.
  • To provide a safe and reliable method to project downhole bores 90 degrees from the vertical well.
  • To provide fluids delivered to the well bore which are extremely clean and predictable when encountering sensitive formations.
  • To provide a cutting medium that is compatible with formation toughness.
  • To provide the necessary downhole equipment to guide the desired path of the jet assembly by use of "Point-The-Jet Method".
  • To provide means and methods for directional control, slope control and deviation control using specific jet reaming devices.
  • To provide methods in which multi-holes can be developed without repetitive round trips into the hole.
  • To provide means and methods to chemically treat formations by placing the chemical agent a distance away from the well bore allowing proper treatment of the formation.
  • To produce a method in which ultra short radii can be obtained to allow entry into thin formations.
  • To provide a method of parting the casing which is efficient and is not oversized for the projected horizontal borehole hole.
  • To provide a method in which several borehole holes can be accomplished in a clustered area near the desired formation.

For more information on Schellstede's Lateral and Radial drilling, click here.