Vertical drilling is a type of drilling that allows users to access sites directly below the drilling site. Vertical drilling is often done in conjunction with horizontal drilling because it gives geologists access to rock formations to determine the optimal direction for a horizontal well. It is the traditional method of drilling a well, but its environmental impact and the increase in production associated with horizontal wells have contributed more to its disuse.
Vertical well drilling has been a conventional method of drilling, allowing access to gas or oil reserves directly below the surface. As vertical well drilling technology advanced and became cheaper, vertical drilling was used less.
Vertical wells are limited in the angles they make and are unable to reach widely underground. Multiple vertical wells may need to be drilled before oil and natural gas reserves directly below can be accessed. Due to costs and the impractical nature of vertical drilling, companies usually must estimate the most productive area of the reserve before they begin. Horizontal wells sometimes rely first on vertical wells. After engineers examine where reserves can be found in a vertical well, horizontal wells are created from the earlier, vertical shaft.
- The Institute for Energy & Environmental Research for Northeastern Pennsylvania, “What is horizontal drilling and, how does it differ from vertical drilling?,” accessed January 29, 2014
- FrackWire, “Drilling technology,” accessed January 29, 2014
- Investopedia, "Vertical Well," accessed March 26, 2015