DTD is celebrating notification by the US Patent and Trademark Office that patent #9,376,869, “System and method for installing casing in a blind horizontal well” has been issued for our highly-successful Knock-Off drilling system. This technology enables us to install long, blind horizontal remediation wells to a precise location in difficult drilling conditions. With the issuance of this patent, the detachable drill bit, a key component of the system, is now protected under US patent law.
The patent acquisition procedure has taken years to complete. During the “patent pending” timeframe, DTD continued to refine and improve the Knock-Off apparatus, and has now used the tooling on no less than 20 blind well installations.
DTD has used this installation technology to install blind horizontal wells primarily at sites with challenging geologic conditions, including flowing sands, non-cohesive sediments, and or collapsing gravels. Guaranteeing a successful installation to a designed length was formerly difficult or impossible without this technology.
The first prototype of the Knock-Off Bit was used to install eight 3-inch diameter blind horizontal wells in California. Not long after that successful installation, we scaled up the application to allow installation of 4-inch diameter horizontal wells. We have since installed blind horizontal wells using the Knock-Off apparatus at remediation sites in California, Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Texas.
Included in these installations are some unique wells: Two 1,450+’ long horizontal air sparge wells over 100′ below ground that are believed to be the longest blind horizontal remediation wells in the world; and a gravity drain installed by drilling underneath and up into the bottom of a mine tailings impoundment to dewater accumulating leachate. In short, the technology allows the certainty of a successful HDD well installation in settings where it was previously considered technically infeasible to install horizontal wells.
DTD invests in the development of innovative approaches to solving challenging engineering problems using HDD. In addition to the Knock-Off Bit Patent, DTD has patents pending on several innovative drilling methods, ranging from tooling for improved locating systems to improved methods for installing water resources wells.