I had thought that laterals tended to be about 8000 feet long. I talked to someone recently who said they were going a lot farther lately though. Is that true or am I right at about 8000 feet?

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No linked article.  What are the risks?

the risks are both technical and financial. the longer a lateral is drilled increases the chance of total failure or a high cost work around. there are alot of lost bottom hole assemblys [BHA], stuck, that have been plugged back and then drilled around, or the lateral abandoned. basic everyday simple physics, in VERY difficult locations. like pushing wire through conduit, resistive forces are one. on well design plans there is a denotation in small print BP out on the lateral. this is a math calculation of the balance point including drill string weight relative to verticle depth and increasing friction relative to curve angle and horizontal distance. theoretical weighlessness. beyond BP it becomes an increasing harder push. all kinds of drilling tech. has been designed to reduce these forces in order to drill longer with less risk. by creating bouyancy of the drill string via light over heavy mud systems reducing resistance helps, among many others. i knew an Ensign master driller involved in the "dual string" test which is quite an interesting approach. suggest a net search. another challenge or risk is in completions. like drilling through thick green wood we know how easy it is to get stuck from the wood chips. the composite plugs in very long laterals require special "snubber" rigs like Deep Well Services with very high pull back [back reaming] power, which would pull down the typical rig. there are many other fascinating details like why a long Marcellus well is different than a comparable Utica, etc. lateral lengths will continue to gradually increase because they are financially beneficial if executed well. i'm told the theoretical limit in deep Utica is 24000' production lateral. nobody has taken that moonwalk yet. i understand somebody is working on a BHA with essentially drive "tracks" to pull like a dozer. China here we come.

a lot farther...  some laterals are around 20,000' now.  Many have been completed between 15k and 20k feet.

Soon the biggest constraint will be the block of land available to drill longer lengths...... Those outfits with bigger blocks will benefit , those with patches of land here and there will struggle   

not every well will be drilled super long for not only the reason you mention, but geological features such as faults etc., it's a tool in the box. in some applications such as here with storage field non surface constraints, it will help limit stranded undeveloped acreage. metro areas,lakes etc. lend well to extended reach. well economics increase along with positive enviro. impact reduction. less pads etc. besides all that,it's just way cool.

I agree these improvements are 'way cool' 

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