Directional Driller Spotlight

Directional drilling is much more complicated than straight-hole drilling. Directional Drillers control the angle and the depth of the drill as they working through various ground conditions.

What a typical day looks like:

Directional Drillers start their day with a study of a well profile or well path, which has already been determined by an engineer or geologist. They look at the incline and depth of the required drill before making complex calculations to determine the direction of the drill.

Directional Drillers determine the equipment needed to do the job and instruct other drillers what their tasks will be. They know what works – and what doesn’t – based on calculations and experience with different types of ground conditions and well paths. Directional Drillers are guided by specialized bottom hole assembly (BHA) tools, such as electromagnetic or positive pulse telemetry. They use the data from these tools to determine if the drilling is actually following the planned path.

The trickiest moments are when Directional Drillers divert the wellbore from a vertical to a horizontal direction. This is where their calculations and sound judgments are critical. They’re dealing with complicated conditions (e.g., high dipping formations, steep angles, etc.) and maybe even issues with the drilling mud itself. They work closely with the Measurement While Drilling (MWD) Specialist to collect data that helps the drilling project stay on track.

Typically employed in the oil and gas services sector of the oil and gas industry, Directional Drillers often work shifts and occasionally work longer hours to get the job done. They can work in onshore or offshore environments.

The kinds of problems Directional Drillers solve at work:

Directional Drillers monitor the drill direction, depth and data throughout the process to make sure that everything is happening according to plan. They need to make constant corrections based on the underground data they receive, which could mean adjusting the rotation speed or introducing a new down-hole motor.

Skills used most on the job:

Directional Drillers are skilled at drilling and have experience dealing with drilling in different locations and geological formations. They clearly communicate critical information, while problem-solving and course-correcting in real time. They also are strong mathematicians and have an understanding of mechanics.

Directional Drillers combine experience, math skills and geological data to guide and instruct until the drilling head is exactly where it’s meant to be.

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