Why build multiple four-acre drilling locations when you can do the same job in one-fourth the space? In 2006, petroleum technologists asked that question when they came up with pad drilling, which uses one location, or pad, to drill several wells. This innovative breakthrough can enable one drilling pad to do the work of six wells or more, while also reducing the environmental footprint by as much as 75%. But how?
Move the rig, but don’t leave the site.
Hydraulic feet beneath the rig ‘walk’ or ‘skid’ the entire structure to additional holes to be drilled on the pad. In as little as a few hours, these rigs can be repositioned and shifted to drill the next well. Relocating a conventional rig requires several days, hundreds of thousands of dollars and constructing an entirely new drilling pad, along with all the equipment and infrastructure that goes with it. Pad drilling also means fewer take-downs and set-ups and requires fewer trucks on the road, which translates to improved safety for workers and neighbors.
Horizontal drilling: efficiency, multiples times four.
Paired with horizontal drilling, pad drilling is even more efficient. With each of the wellbores branching off laterally, oil and natural gas can be accessed in several directions which raises production potential exponentially.
Less is more.
Economic efficiency is inherent with pad drilling, but that’s only part of the story. One multi-well pad site can replace several single-well pad sites, which means fewer pipelines and less equipment and infrastructure installed. More nature conserved. More natural resources produced. It’s a win–win situation both economically and environmentally.
It just keeps getting better.
The advantages to multi-well pad sites are numerous. With more and more being constructed each day, we’ll see even greater efficiency out of fewer drilling sites in the near future. Producing even more of the oil and natural gas the nation needs from our own land while continuing to use less surface area is a giant step forward.