Horizontal drilling was a game-changer and drilling for miles beneath the earth now makes for just another day in the field.
Extended reach drilling has upped the ante, though. With technology continuing to progress at a quickening pace, breaking world drilling records has almost become commonplace.
The world’s deepest and longest wells are a mix of old and new, but regardless of when drilling took place, the limits of innovation are continually pushing forward.
To see where the current world records stand, check out the list of wells below:
Greatest vertical depth – Kola Superdeep Borehole
In terms of vertical depth, the Kola Superdeep Borehole reigns supreme as the deepest artificial point on earth.
Located within the Arctic Circle of Russia’s far northwest, this scientific drilling project had one goal – drilling as deep into the earth’s crust as possible.
Drilling commenced in 1970 with hopes of eventually reaching a total depth of 49,000 feet.
By 1989 the borehole had reached the final record-setting depth of 40,230 feet. Unexpectedly high temperatures of 356 degrees Fahrenheit (rather than the predicted 212 F) prevented the project from drilling any further.
Despite discovering invaluable information about the earth’s crust, the program was shut down in 2006. The equipment has since been scrapped, and the site abandoned since 2008.
For a short time, it was even rumored to have reached a gateway to hell itself.