With so many new opportunities emerging in the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) industry, it’s worth taking a closer look and doing it right to ensure your production continues without interruption. A horizontal directional drilling failure is a worst-case scenario. However, it doesn’t have to be.

Why is downtime so damaging?

Downtime is costly for any business, but it can be especially damaging for a business that depends on horizontal directional drilling (HDD). HDD is a type of construction that involves drilling long, horizontal holes through the ground. This process is often used to install underground utilities, like water and sewer lines.

HDD requires specialized equipment and well-trained directional boring contractors. When an HDD rig goes down, it can take days or even weeks to get it up and running again. This downtime can be very costly, not just in terms of the repairs needed, but also in terms of lost productivity.

There are a few things that can cause unexpected downtime with horizontal directional drilling:

  • Poor planning – If the project is not properly planned, it can lead to issues during drilling. This includes not having a clear understanding of the subsurface conditions, not having enough drill pipes or other supplies on hand, and not having a contingency plan for unexpected events.
  • Poor execution – If the drilling process is not executed properly, it can result in problems such as bent pipes, stuck drill bits, and lost circulation.
  • Poor communication – If there is poor communication between the project manager and the horizontal directional drilling contractors, it can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes. This can include not sharing important information about changes in the good path or changes in subsurface conditions.

If you experience any of these problems while drilling, it is important to stop drilling immediately and assess the situation. Once you have determined what went wrong, you can take steps to not only remedy the situation but to prevent it from happening again.

How can you avoid unexpected downtime with horizontal directional drilling?

If you are planning a horizontal directional drilling project, there are a few things you can do to avoid unexpected downtime. 

  • Preventive maintenance –   Before starting your project, create a maintenance plan and schedule. This will help ensure that your equipment is in good working order and reduce the likelihood of unexpected downtime.
  • Communication – Make sure to communicate your plans and expectations with your directional boring contractors. This will help everyone be on the same page and avoid any surprises.
  • Contingency planning – Have a plan in place in case something does go wrong. This way, any problems can be solved immediately and get back on track.

What are the benefits of a successful drilling project?

A successful drilling project can have many benefits, including:

  • Increased production: By drilling horizontally, operators can access more of the reservoir, which can lead to increased production.
  • Improved safety: Horizontal drilling can help avoid potential hazards associated with vertical drillings, such as kicks and blowouts.
  • Reduced costs: Horizontal drilling can be less expensive than vertical drilling, due to the reduced need for casing and other equipment.


HDD can be a great option for drilling in difficult-to-reach areas, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and problems that can occur. If you need help with your HDD project, contact professional horizontal directional drilling contractors who can assist you with planning and execution.