World Pipelines HDD Discussion
Now, more than ever, the way pipelines are built around rivers, lakes and other important water bodies is something people care a lot about. So keeping northern Alberta’s biggest and longest river safe with challenges, such as steep banks, sensitive ecology and a harsh climate, was of utmost importance to the engineers working on TransCanada’s recently completed Northern Courier Pipeline Project.
The team had to think creatively and put the latest technology and pipeline construction innovations to work on the 90-kilometre (56-mile) project, which officially received product and began operations in late January 2018.
“The Athabasca River is a protected area and by doing an HDD we were able to stay out of that protected area,” said Tim Smith, pipeline project manager, Northern Courier Pipeline Project.
The pipeline project had some particularly challenging sections along its route, including eight major crossings under large water bodies and busy roads. In order to complete these crossings safely and with minimal impact to the environment, additional planning and thought was required to determine the best approach.
While the team didn’t set out to break any records, their work received international recognition for their use of “trenchless” crossing techniques that allow pipe to be installed underground with minimal impact to surface resources.
“A horizontal directional drill (HDD) provides the benefit of being able to go underground without disturbing sensitive areas,” says Smith. “In this particular case the Athabasca River is a protected area, environmentally, and by doing an HDD we were able to stay out of that protected area and minimize our impact on the environment.”
The HDD project completed under the Athabasca River turned out to be the longest 42-inch-wide HDD completed in North America to date at 2,195 metres (7,200 feet), in order to install the pipeline 70 metres below the riverbed. HDD is a technique that TransCanada frequently uses for major water crossings because it avoids in-stream work during construction and places the pipe below the riverbed.
Along with our contractors Michels and CCI Inc., the Northern Courier team’s Athabasca River crossing was awarded the 2016 Project of the Year by the North American Society for Trenchless Technology(Northwest Chapter), a society dedicated to promoting the benefits of trenchless technology for public awareness through education, training and research.
“This was a high honour in the world of trenchless crossing technology,” Smith said. “It meant a lot to those of us who work day in and day out to install pipelines in a way that minimizes the environmental impact while delivering the energy products our society needs.”
Congratulations to the Pembina Pipeline Corporation and CCI Inc. on being awarded the 2017 Northwest Trenchless Project of the Year for the Athabasca River Parallel HDD Installations Project!
Pembina Pipeline Corporation (Pembina) proposed the design and construction of the Phase III Expansion, which follows and expands segments of Pembina’s existing pipeline systems from Taylor, British Columbia to Edmonton, Alberta. The core of the Phase III Expansion Project was the Fox Creek to Namao (FCN) construction which involved the installation of parallel NPS 16 (406.4 mm) and NPS 24 (609.6 mm) pipelines within a shared right-of-way (ROW). Both new pipelines were design to transport high vapour pressure (HVP) products, and increased transport capacity by 170,000 bpd and 500,000 bpd, respectively. With the parallel installations complete and placed into service on June 16, 2017, Pembina now has four (4) pipelines within the Fox Creek to Namao corridor which allow them to transport four (4) distinct hydrocarbon products (propane-plus, ethane-plus, condensate, and crude oil) within segregated pipelines.
The new parallel installations are 286 km long and transport products from Fox Creek to existing processing facilities in the Edmonton, Red Water, and Fort Saskatchewan areas. Within the acquired ROW, the two (2) pipelines crossed numerous watercourses, roads, and surficial features. CCI Inc. (CCI) was engaged by Pembina in 2014 and worked closely with our client through to the end of construction in 2017. Construction of the horizontal directionally drilled (HDD) crossings began in August of 2016 and was completed in April 2017. CCI’s scope of work included 68 detailed crossing designs at 34 crossing locations, including stress analysis, annular pressure modelling, feasibility assessments, and risk assessments. Along with engineering, CCI completed geotechnical investigations at a majority of the crossing locations and at all of the major watercourse crossings. Throughout the duration of the HDD design and construction, CCI provided contract support, assisting with the tender process, contractor negotiations, clarifications, and award. During HDD construction, CCI assisted with cost tracking for the HDD activities and provided knowledgeable HDD Inspectors to act as the Client Representative on site for the duration of HDD activities.
One of the most difficult major crossing locations on the FCN project was the Athabasca River, located approximately 8 km north of Whitecourt, Alberta. The NPS 24 and NPS 16 crossings of the Athabasca River were 1,552 m and 1,462 m in length, and required finished borehole diameters of 24” and 36”, respectively.
An extensive geotechnical program was completed at the crossing, with seven (7) boreholes completed along the crossing alignment. These boreholes identified surficial materials of sand, clay, clay (till), and gravel. The gravel identified was extensive, on both the north upland (exit location) and within the valley bottom to the south (entry location). The two (2) boreholes on the north upland identified a significant difference in the thickness of the gravel layer, prompting the completion of an additional geophysical program which utilized electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) in an attempt to define the gravel layer and assist with determining the ideal exit location and the requirements for surficial casing during construction. Bedrock at the crossing location consisted primarily of mudstone and sandstone, with some if it described as fractured and water bearing at or above rig elevation. Utilizing this geotechnical date, CCI’s geotechnical department created a no drill zone (NDZ) which provided a minimum 37 m of cover beneath the lowest point in the river channel thalweg, putting the drill at least 15 m into competent bedrock. The NDZ also maintained the drill at or below 640 m geodetic elevation as it passed beneath the current river channels and the active flood plain.
Final detailed HDD designs included 35 m of NPS 48 (1219.2 mm) and NPS 36 (914.4 mm) casing on entry and 50 m of casing at the exit locations. Both crossings followed similar drill paths and utilized moderately high entry (18°) and exit (16°) angles (based on industry standards) to reduce the length of casing required. The NPS 24 installation was designed 3 m deeper than the NPS 16, and extended 50 m longer than the NPS 16 on entry and exit to accommodate equipment layout and drilling operations to occur concurrently within a shared workspace. The drills were offset horizontally to meet Pembina’s specification for minimum separation requirements, allow for adequate steering tolerances, and minimize the risk of fluid communication between the drills. The geometry of the drills included approximately 80 m of elevation gain from entry to exit, and 120 m of total elevation change from the bottom tangent to the exit location.
Both drills were designed utilizing intersect methodology due to the casing requirements at entry and exit. Annular pressure analysis was run from both the entry and exit locations, and it was identified that expected downhole drilling pressures during the pilot holes quickly exceeded the strength of the overburden formation when drilling from the exit location due to the large elevation change in the topography. Due to this, the intersects were planned within the exit tangent of the drills, with a large portion of the pilot hole being completed from the lower entry side.
Pipe section layout utilized additional workspace to facilitate the layout of both the pipelines, travel, and required pipe support equipment. The NPS 24 utilized two (2) pipe sections, which required a stoppage during pipe pullback operations to complete the closure weld, inspection, and coating. Due to the high exit angle of both drills, additional support equipment was necessary for the safe support of the sections, which reached a maximum height of 9 m within the overbend.
The planned construction schedule included very aggressive timelines due primarily to environmental requirements which restricted access and construction to a set operational window. The schedule involved four (4) rigs to be mobilized and utilized for drilling operations of the NPS 16 and NPS 24 pipelines concurrently. Direct Horizontal Drilling (DHD) was contracted by Pembina to complete the construction of the HDD crossings, including casing installation and extraction. Mobilization to the prepared work pads began in August 2016. Entry and exit rig spreads were setup simultaneously with two (2) full spreads, including mud cleaning and recycling equipment. Specifications for the rigs utilized can be found below.
NPS 16 Entry / NPS 24 Entry
• Pullforce – 1,100,000 lb·f
• Rotary Torque – 100,000 ft-lbs
• Pump Capacity – 6 cm/min
NPS 16 Exit / NPS 24 Exit
• Pullforce – 440,000 lb·f
• Rotary Torque – 60,000 ft-lbs
• Pump Capacity – 5 cm/min
Surface casing (NPS 48 and NPS 36) was successfully installed on entry to 29 m, where a competent formation was encountered, slightly shorter than the proposed 35 m. On exit, NPS 60 and NPS 48 casing were installed, sized up from the required minimum diameter to allow for the use of telescoping in the event the casing could not be installed to the required depth without employing this methodology. Exit casing was initially installed to lengths of 66 m and 64 m, exceeding the recommended 50 m due to the variance in the gravel formation on exit.
The NPS 24 drilling activities began prior to the NPS 16, and the 12 ¼” pilot was completed with minimal problems. There were delays when the entry rig had to wait for exit casing installation to be completed so the intersect could be attempted. Once exit casing was complete the exit rig drilled to 166 m, where it intersected the entry pilot in 5 hours. The first ream pass enlarged the borehole to 24”, leaving a plug at exit to ensure borehole stability, followed by a 36” final ream. During the 36” ream the borehole started to produce water at 5m3/hr, and the rig was shut down for a period due to warm conditions, rain, and access restrictions caused by the sloppy conditions. After a final wiper pass, pipe pull was successfully completed with a maximum pullforce of 115,000 lbs·f, indicating a clean borehole free of cuttings.
The NPS 16 drilling began and encountered fluid losses to the parallel bore at approximately 540 m MD from entry. Once the intersect was completed, the bore began producing water to the entry location at a variable rate from 5-7 m3/hr for the duration of the drill. The shutdown due to weather conditions occurred during pilot immediately after completing the intersect, and resulted in high rotary and stuck drill string. Multiple mitigation strategies were employed to retrieve the string, drilling a second pilot hole parallel to the stuck pipe from exit, use of a downhole hammer on the drill pipe, and using hydraulic casing jacks. After 10 days of attempting to retrieve the stuck drill pipe, it was determined that the string was unrecoverable and both rigs rotated out of the drill string, retrieving approximately 590 m of drill pipe on entry and 170 m of drill pipe on exit, abandoning the remaining drill pipe in the hole. A packer was set from entry and grout was injected into the abandoned hole from the exit location in an attempt to stop the water flow. Due to the amount of drill pipe retrieved, the existing entry and exit casing were still able to be utilized for the second attempt at pilot hole. Both the entry and exit redrills were successful in side-tracking out of the existing hole once outside the casing. After the second successful intersect, issues arose when attempting to trip both bits out to exit, after discussion it was determined that collapsed cobbles at the end of the casing were resulting in deflecting the bottom hole assembly (BHA) outside of the casing. Additional casing was installed on exit from 64 m to 68 m, and the BHA was successfully pushed out to exit and reaming operations commenced.
DHD began forward reaming 24” to approximately 500 m when the rotary torque increased significantly and the exit rig twisted off the reamer. Both rigs tripped to surface with the exit rig retrieving the tail string with a failure just beneath a tool joint and the entry rig successfully retrieving the reamer. The BHA was tripped across the hole to exit and encountered problems getting into the exit casing again, additional casing was installed to 87 m and additional attempts to push out the bit to exit were made. At this time, due to extreme weather conditions, bans were in place on the access roads preventing heavy loads and limiting vacuum trucks and drill pipe loads. Consideration was given to tripping the exit BHA to entry however; the road bans prevented mobilizing drill pipe and managing fluid returns to entry. After 3 days and multiple attempts to get the entry BHA out of the exit casing, road bans were lifted, allowing the Contractor to mobilize drill pipe from exit to entry to trip the BHA in from the exit to entry, and bits are quickly tripped through the borehole and successfully pushed out on entry. The 24” ream was quickly completed, along with a successful wiper pass. After multiple construction issues and mitigation strategies, failures and successes, the NPS 16 pipeline was installed with no issues during pullback operations and a maximum pullforce of 98,300 lbs·f.
Entry casings for both the NPS 16 and NPS 24 drills were successfully removed, exit casing removal attempts were unsuccessful and drills were cemented at entry and exit to restrict production of water from hole and to seal the exit casing abandoned in the hole.
We would like to thank the entire project team for combining their efforts and utilizing their experience and expertise, resulting in the successful installation of both the NPS 24 and NPS 16 HDD’s.
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CCI Inc. announced that it acquired Houston based Horizontal Technology, Inc. one of the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) industry’s premier guidance service and down-hole tooling providers.
Headquartered in Alberta, Canada, CCI Inc. is a leading expert in HDD, open-cut and microtunneling methods. Since 2004, CCI has established itself as a driving force in the continued advancement of trenchless pipeline systems and employ proven methods for tackling difficult crossings.
“This amalgamation of industry expertise will offer a highly technical 360-degree approach to the pipeline, oil and gas and municipal infrastructure sectors,” says David Dupuis, COO of CCI Inc. “The combined service offering to our clients and contractors will help to move the industry forward with innovation and enhanced service.”
The acquisition will allow CCI to, in addition to providing steering and readers, offer engineering, environmental (mud disposal) and geotechnical services.
“It is a great move for Horizontal Technology Inc., both for our employees and our clients. CCI has always been one of our industry’s most professional engineering firms,” said John English, president and founder of Horizontal Technology Inc. “Adding their vast engineering capabilities to our existing tools and services will provide an avenue of improved value to our clients. The engineering and environmental components of our combined services allows contractors to extend the scope of projects for which they can compete. I am confident this deal will make many of our clients more profitable.”
Both companies will retain their names and the U.S. and Canadian offices for both firms will remain open as is.
Hi Everyone! This June, I participated in the Kids with Cancer Society “Tour of Hope” cycling tour to help raise funds for programs and services that will assist children in their battle against cancer. This 3 – 8 day tour started in Jasper National Park, Alberta and covered 200 – 900 kms through the majestic Rockies. Thanks to your generous donations, we exceeded my fundraising goal to help make this ride a huge success. For more information please visit Tour of Hope. http://www.kidswithcancer.ca Many thanks. The kids are the real heroes here!
CCI Inc. announced today it has once again requalified as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. CCI won its initial Best Managed award in 2013 and has successfully retained its status, becoming a Gold Standard winner in 2017! Considered the “go-to” company for designing and constructing trenchless crossings – the most difficult and technical part of projects, CCI continues to be a leader in the industry attributing its success to its sound business strategy of zero failures and highly technical professionals and skilled “360° Team”.
“CCI is tremendously proud to continue to be among such a worthy field of Canadian business success stories,” said David Dupuis, Chief Operating Officer at CCI Inc. “We credit our talented pool of highly qualified technical people as the key to being able to deliver stellar results, project after project.”
Canada’s Best Managed Companies continues to be the mark of excellence for Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million. Every year since the launch of the program in 1993, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies have competed for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates their management skills, practices, strategy and ability to execute.
CCI Inc. is a leading expert in Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), Open-Cut and Micro-Tunneling methods. Since 2004, we have established ourselves as a driving force in the continued advancement of trenchless pipeline systems and employ proven methods for tackling difficult crossings. CCI provides award winning, highly technical services to the pipeline, oil & gas and municipal infrastructure sectors including: Engineering, Construction Management, Environmental and Geotechnical Services, Forestry Planning & Reclamation Services.
For more information please visit our website ccisolutions.ca
For more information on Canada’s Best Managed Companies visit www.canadianbusiness.com/best-managed-companies/
This marks the 20th year Trenchless Technology has conducted its annual survey ranking trenchless engineering companies in North America.
The rankings are based on reported North American trenchless project billings (USD). Coming in at No. 1 for the second straight year is Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M, which reported trenchless billings of $164 million over its last fiscal year.
Rounding out the Top 10 are: No. 2: Mott MacDonald ($154 million); No. 3: Stantec ($105 million); No. 4: AECOM ($80.2 million); No. 5: Hatch ($80 million); No. 6: Black & Veatch ($74.9 million); No. 7: CDM Smith (70.4 million); No. 8: Arcadis ($54.2 million); No. 9: Jacobs Engineering Group ($47.4 million); and No. 10: Cardno ($45.2 million).
With a reported $27 million in trenchless billings, Canadian firm CCI Inc. comes in at No. 14 – the largest 100 percent trenchless design firm in North America and one of six 100 percent trenchless firms in the Top 50.
In addition to trenchless billings, the survey asks participants to report total company billings, number of trenchless experts employed by the company, the number of trenchless projects completed in the past five years and a breakdown of trenchless projects completed by method.
Here is the breakdown of trenchless projects completed by method in the past year by the Top 50: Auger boring: 356; horizontal directional drilling: 1,883; microtunneling: 219; pipe jacking: 270; pipe bursting: 178; pipe rehabilitation: 1,207; sanitary sewer evaluation studies: 844; subsurface utility engineering: 4,278+ (although Cardno reported 2,392 in this category – 56 percent of the total); utility tunneling: 225; and 1,448 other trenchless projects.
RELATED: 2015 Trenchless Technology Top 50 Trenchless Design Firms
This year’s survey results for 2015 billings – or the last fiscal year – are similar to what was reported last year for 2014. Looking specifically at trenchless billings, this year’s Top 50 trenchless firms completed a collective $1.28 billion in work, up slightly from $1.19 billion in 2014. Of the Top 50 firms’ collective revenue of $40.9 billion, 3.14 percent was in trenchless design. According to the survey, the Top 50 firms have completed more than 36,823 trenchless projects from 2010 to 2015. In a positive for the workforce, the survey also reveals there are more than 4,542 professionals working in trenchless design across the Top 50 – an 11 percent increase from 2015.
RELATED: Trenchless Technology Magazine Announces Its 2015 Top 50 Trenchless Design Firms
Trenchless Technology’s survey is aimed at providing readers a glimpse into the state of the trenchless design market. Trenchless Technology wishes to thank everyone who participated in this year’s survey. For more information on how to participate, contact Trenchless Technology managing editor Sharon M. Bueno at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCI, Michels, and TransCanada were awarded the “Project of the Year” award at the 2016 North America Society for Trenchless Technology – Northwest Chapter.
The award was chosen based on complexity and uniqueness of project to the team for their engineering design and construction for the 2,195 m NPS 42 HDD crossing of the Athabasca River, as part of TransCanada’s Northern Courier Project.
Thank you for CCI Solutions’ hole Sponsorship that helped to make the 7th Annual Gordon Hoffman Charity Golf Classic presented by Centron Group our most successful year ever! A record 199 golfers participated and we are thrilled to report that over $127,000 was raised by the tournament this year. Given the current economic climate in Calgary, wea re very humbled by the fantastic result. Your generosity will be put to work right away to help the more than 1,000 children and adults that we work with each year through our school program and our community services.
“My Son never felt like he belonged in a school setting before Foothills Academy. I will never forget our first parent/teacher interview (at Foothills Academy). I was in shock as I heard the teachers say encouraging words that my husband and I have been wishing other school teachers had said (at least once) in the past 7 years of my son’s schooling. Finally, we have found a haven where people understood our son! I truly believe Foothills Academy has changed our lives for the better. I almost feel I cannot put into words exactly how grateful we are that Foothills Academy exists. We now have a happy 18 year old that will graduate high school this year and go on to post secondary education with confidence and the tools for success.”
Your support changes lives! we look forward to your participation again next year at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club. As soon as we have a confirmed date, we will let you know.
On behalf of the entire staff at Foothills Academy Society, the families that we work with and our golf committee, thanks you!
CCI raised $400 for Movember through its Live Hockey Pool and On-Line hockey pools in October 2015.
The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising $677 million and funding over 1,000 projects focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
On October 28th staff were invited to The Libertine Public House for food and refreshments as they selected their players from a live draft system. Half of the proceeds from this draft went to help fund Movember.