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Horizontal & Directional Drilling (HDD)

Horizontal Directional Drilling got its big start in the 1980s when the big fiber optic push stretched across the country. It was quickly realized that open cut trenching was very evasive. After a backhoe or trencher had cut open an area, another group would have to come in and repair the area and lay sod. In many historical areas across the country open cut installation was prohibited and people went without modern infrastructure. The concept of HDD drilling is very similar to vertical Mud Rotary with one big difference: the “GRAVITY” works against us. When drilling a water well or a geothermal hole, any time you stop the mud pump, your drilling fluid falls neatly to the bottom of the hole with the drill rods centered in the hole.

Imagine a snow globe and when you shake it up all the particles are floating, that is the same as a working mud pump down hole and all the drilling cuttings are suspended. Then, let the snow globe rest and that is similar to turning the pump off and all the little snow particles or, mud in our case, fall to the bottom of the globe or hole. In vertical drilling, the time for the particles to fall is limited to the depth of the well (ie: 100ft hole you have however long it takes to settle to 100ft). In HDD your borehole can be 100ft horizontally but only 5 to 12 inches vertically. The time it takes for mud particles to settle 5 inches verses 100ft is like a space ship racing a pinto.

Horizontal Drilling

The above example explains why HDD drilling fluids are much more viscous and do not allow drill cuttings to settle when the pump is shut off. The progressive gel strength's quality allows for HDD rigs to stop pumping for a period of time and allow the mud to fully suspend the cuttings. Drill cutting that are fully suspended do not settle on top of the HDD drill rod. This insures that the rods do not become stuck in the hole. Traditionally HDD rigs have used one way mud, meaning that once it pumps the drill cuttings out of the hole the mud is sucked up and hauled away.

This is because these drill muds have progressive gel strengths and do not allow cuttings to settle out. Mud that is full of drill cuttings is abrasive and heavy. The Mud Puppy solids control system can help you re-use or recycle the mud by mechanically removing the drill cuttings from the mud. A Mud Puppy is a HDD companies dream; you get to drill longer and faster without using as much mud. It also cuts down on disposal cost by recirculating the newly cleaned mud from the Mud Puppy. Every HDD drill should be operating with a Mud Puppy solids control unit on site or you are just throwing money down the hole.

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15064 Anacapa Rd.
Victorville, CA 92392

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Phone: 442.242.7507
Fax: 442.242.7511