Company Overcomes Challenges To Complete Intersect Bore

September 2009 Vol. 64 No. 9

Brent Lane and his business partner, Steve Parker, have witnessed the ups and downs of the horizontal directional drilling business.

The friends started Parker Lane Directional Drilling in 1998 and began working on fiber projects in the Fort Worth, TX area. When the fiber industry went bust, Parker and Lane did everything they could think of to survive two incredibly lean years.

“I guess we got in the directional drilling business at the right time and that helped to establish our company,” says Lane. “A lot of contractors went bankrupt because they only focused on one area of fiber installation. We had the equipment and expertise to handle any fiber project and that fueled our transition into the pipeline market.”

For two years, Parker Lane was able to just break even, allowing them to retain all of their employees and cover their equipment payments. When the fiber to the premise work started back up, Parker Lane was back in business, but at substantially lower rates than before.

“You can’t drill sandstone in Fort Worth for $5 to $7 a foot,” says Lane. “A local equipment dealer encouraged us to explore the pipeline market with the recent expansion of the Barnett Shale natural gas fields. I spent a week driving every county road on the map outside of Fort Worth looking for pipeline projects. If I saw an excavator or a stake in the ground or truck I didn’t recognize, I stopped and gave them my business card.”

Soon the cold calling paid off and Lane received a call from a pipeline contractor. The partners first started working on some small pipeline projects for Mastec and Quanta Services and were consistently called back for additional work. So the partners abandoned the fiber projects and transitioned to pipeline installations.

“We started out installing six- and 8-inch gathering and distribution lines, then it bumped up to 10- and 12-inch and now it’s either 16- or 24-inch,” says Lane. “We had to turn down projects worth millions of dollars because we didn’t have a drill rig large enough to handle the 24-inch diameter pipe.”

That encouraged led Parker Lane to purchase a Vermeer D330x500 Navigator horizontal directional drill suitable for larger diameter and longer bore projects. Lane realized he was walking into new territory. That’s when he turned to a respected bore guidance expert to help the company.