Challenges Of Overlapping Construction On 3 Major Pipeline Projects

May 2010 Vol. 65 No. 5
Michels’ construction spread on the Keystone Pipeline project.

The pipeline was welded using the Serimax automatic welding system and comprised of four forwarders with welding shacks attached. There were 95 road crossings, of which 73 were open cut, 20 were pneumatic hammer bores and two were track bores. There were also 25 open-cut water body crossings and five foreign pipeline crossings, three of which were track bored and two of which were open cut.

The project used 482 employees at its maximum capacity and logged more than 500,000 total man hours. Crews also battled a swing in temperatures from 82 degrees F all the way down to -32 degrees F.

All 69.7 miles of pipeline on spread one have been inspected by Enduro Pipeline Services with the use of a caliper gauging tool pig (smart pig). No anomalies were detected on the first 28 miles, and tests are ongoing on the remainder.

As part of the $3.6 billion project, Michels began construction on spread two on Aug. 21, 2009, and was estimated to wrap up work in late-January. Spread two spans 67 miles of 36-inch crude oil pipeline from the Snake River, where spread one left off, to Clearbrook, MN. The maximum number of employees working on spread two at any time was 508 people, which had a big impact on the local economy in towns such as Thief River Falls.

Michels Corporation, (920) 924-4300,