Horizontal wells are of increasing interest in the oil and gas industry, as is evident from the increase in the numbers of such wells being drilled. Horizontal well technology is used to improve production rates, notably in low permeability formations; to capture reserves if a reservoir is not economic using non-horizontal wells; to manage breakthrough of sweep fluids and increase sweep efficiency; and to extend the areal reach from a single surface location, especially in offshore production. The types of horizontal wells, differentiated on the basis of how quickly the well becomes horizontal, are briefly outlined and a short history of horizontal wells is presented. Canadian accomplishments in this field are then described, including steerable drilling systems, measurement-while-drilling systems, management of hole drag and torque, and well completion techniques. About 25 horizontal wells are forecast to be drilled in Canada in 1989, indicating the favorable future of this technology. 2 figs., 5 tabs.