Well Drilling: Factors That Can Stall Progress

7 August 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


When you have to drill a new well, be it water or oil, there will always be issues. Things can stall the progress of the drilling, and then you have to get geologists and engineers out to discuss what to do next. As a property owner, you should know what factors can stop the drilling process and cause more holes to be drilled.

The Drilling Team Hit a Pocket of Natural Gas

It stands to reason that if you drill through the Earth, you will hit pockets of gas, fossil fuels, etc. The problem with drilling any well and hitting natural gas is that the drilling company has to stop. They have to very carefully remove the drill so that they do not ignite the gas. If they ignite the gas, there will be a tremendous explosion on your property, as well as several injuries, and possibly a fatality or two.

Sulfur Is Detected

Sulfur is a big issue. If it is detected in high enough quantities in a water well, it is not safe for human consumption and you will have to drill a new well. If it is detected in an oil well, the team has to continue drilling very carefully. Sulfur has a low ignition point, which makes it very difficult to avoid. If the sulfur ignites, it ignites everything below it, including the oil. The well becomes useless as it burns off.

Unexpected Underground Rock Is Too Hard

Despite the location and all of the work by geologists and engineers on a well drilling project, nothing can predict the underground rock formations far below the surface. As such, it is not uncommon for well drillers to hit a rock ledge that is just too hard for the drill to go through. Drilling bits are busted to pieces on this rock ledge, and the drill has to be retracted. A delay of at least one day while a new bit is found and several more days to relocate the well is common.

There are drill bits that can go through rock this hard, but they cost millions to purchase. If a driller borrows or rents such a bit, it is still far more expensive than just attempting to drill a well in a new location. Hence, the well drilling project starts fresh on your property (unless you are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and wait several weeks to get the special bit and continue drilling the same well!). For more information, check with a company like J. A. Schwall Well & Pump Service Inc.