feature

drilling through shale

"Bend It like Beckham" was a movie about a British football star who could “bend” or curve a kicked ball around a row of defenders. Horizontal drilling is a bit like that. Take the case of our Marcellus Shale unconventional oil and gas assets in Pennsylvania.

Horizontal drilling gives us greater access to the reservoir by using a rig to drill down thousands of feet into the targeted production zone. The drill then probes thousands of feet horizontally through the shale. This approach efficiently recovers more natural gas with a smaller environmental footprint than drilling multiple vertical wells. It’s particularly effective because the Marcellus terrain is quite hilly, limiting the flat areas on which to place a drilling rig. So laterals — or horizontal sections — can push farther, with greater success.

And we’re getting more efficient at using the technology, cutting safe drilling time in half and doubling our productivity. Used in combination with another technology — hydraulic fracturing — horizontal drilling is enhancing production flow rates in the Marcellus Shale and other unconventional oil and gas holdings. Horizontal drilling also helps us design our wells with control systems to protect groundwater through the life of the well.

Updated: July 2015