Why Horizontal Directional Drilling Is Preferred Today

Horizontal directional drilling can be defined as any processes which are carried out to reduce the need for surface excavation. There are many reasons why contractors prefer the trenchless approach.

The first is to minimize the cost associated with ground excavation. The second main reason is environmental protection. Directional drilling is quickly getting adopted as the method for laying pipes in many urban and rural areas across the United States. In this article, we look at those reasons as to why it has become a popular method of drilling.

Reduced Infrastructure Disruption

Today, directional drilling is commonly used to lay down utility pipes. It has proven to be very convenient in highly populated areas. It would otherwise disrupt transportation if the road had to be excavated to install the pipes.

A hole is drilled through a predetermined path using mud motor drilling techniques. The ground is drilled at an angle and should level out when it gets to the specified depth. Surveys are taken along the path as the driller moves the wellbore.

Directional boring is useful for cutting costs when you have to drill under existing structures such as roads and bridges. Depending on the results from the analysis and substrate conditions, the mud motors can bore holes in both vertical and horizontal directions. The technique became popular in the 90s when the cost of installing utilities had skyrocketed. By 1998, the cost of excavation had risen to an average of about $68 billion.

Environmental Benefits

Horizontal directional drilling is the most viable way to install pipelines under waterways, rivers, and wetlands. In horizontal excavations, contractors can keep the number of excavations to a minimum. Using mud motors and breakout tools, only the entry and exit pit are often required.

When installing utilities across certain geographical regions, it is critical for the project to adhere to the local environmental regulations. With open excavations, the following issues can become a difficult challenge to overcome:

  • Avoid any disturbance that could threaten wetlands or any wildlife habitat
  • Stop the destabilization of steep hills and slopes to prevent soil erosion and mudslides
  • Ensure all materials from the excavation are properly disposed of to prevent pollution
  • Avoid the accumulation of polluted water in the trenches

With drill bits, breakout tools, and mud motors, excavators can even drill through hard rock. After thorough analysis, the right tools are picked for directional boring depending on the type of soil or rock. Therefore, drilling is possible across different types of terrain. Because the challenges that come with open excavation are eliminated, there is little threat to the soil, underground water, and the environment.


With directional boring, you may need extra tools such as mud motors, drill bits, and a breakout tool. Nevertheless, it is still much more economical to use horizontal drilling techniques to install piping.

Open excavations require moving of a lot of soil and rock when installing utilities. The rocks and soil can be problematic when it comes to getting rid of the material according to environmental regulations.

Additionally, open trenches can be a hazard to employees tasked with the excavation. Contractors have to spend time and money preventing these hazards from happening.

Contact Torquato Today

Even though you’ll need specialized tools like completion bits and breakout tools, the overall cost with directional boring is low. It saves time and is considered more environmentally friendly because it requires minimal excavation to install utilities. All these advantages can be exploited to ensure that both drilling and/or mining operations remain profitable and sustainable. Rely on Torquato for all of your drilling needs today.