Thanks to shale, the United States has enhanced its national security, bolstered local tax revenues and revitalized the manufacturing sector. All these positive changes are happening while innovative technologies, like horizontal and directional drilling, are minimizing the surface impact of energy development. Resources that were once only accessible with ten or twelve rigs are now accessible from a single well pad. This shift has created a more environmentally sound extraction and reclamation process. As Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel said, “By using directional drilling and fracking, we have an opportunity to have a softer footprint on the land.”
The Department of Energy describes the benefits of horizontal drilling as allowing oil and gas operators to “access far more natural gas with fewer wells and disturbed acres.” However, it’s not just energy experts and top regulatory bodies that are behind horizontal drilling. Environmental groups back directional drilling as well—and for the exact same reason! Even the anti-fracking group Earthworks admits that the benefits are “numerous” and that, by using horizontal drilling:
“…companies can drill a number of wells in different directions from one well pad (multilateral wells), which can decrease overall surface disturbance by reducing the number of well pads required to drain an oil or gas field.”
Check out EID’s new infographic – “Horizontal Drilling Reduces Land Impacts” – to learn more about how the United States is able to produce more energy with less impact.