Equipment Aids Safe, Fast HDD Pipeline Installation In Billings

June 2009 Vol. 64 No. 6
Mears' state-of-the-art vibratory sheet pile driver.

Pro Pipe Services, Energy Contract Services and Mears Group Inc. set a high standard in safety, design and planning on a recently completed horizontal directional drilling project.

Contracted by Pro Pipe Services (PPS), Mears installed a 10-inch steel pipeline within the city limits of Billings, MT. The 1,635-foot line replaced an existing products line to make way for a road expansion project at Airport Road. This products line connects to a major oil refinery in Billings.

The project was carefully planned by Energy Contract Services’ project manager, Derek Pfeifer. “Energy Contract Services worked with the owner to bring a unique blend of expertise and construction savvy to the table as this project came into fruition,” stated Ron Marsh of PPS. “Without their due diligence and commitment to the high expectations set by management, this project would have not been such a smooth and enjoyable project to be a part of. Up front planning of a project before the bid process is key to the success of any project.”

The project commenced on Jan. 9 when Mears, using the new equipment and unique safety features that it had added to their already large fleet of HDD equipment, set-up the million-pound rig in a constricted area along Airport Road overlooking the industrial area of Billings. Installation of the new product line required careful consideration of the proximity of the existing line.

During pilot hole operations, Mears drilled along the designed alignment within two feet of the existing line and then navigated a 37-degree curve towards the exit on the north side of Airport Road.

Transferring drill pipe can be extremely hazardous without the right procedures and equipment in place. The project team factored safety procedures into every aspect of the project. Using a LaValley Industries Deckhand to maneuver drill pipe on and off the rig, Mears’ trained staff moved drill pipe with perfect precision. The Deckhand allows the operator to place and remove drill pipe with full rotation of 360 degrees and allowing movement laterally. It also permits the drill pipe to be loaded at varying angles, depending on the rig set-up and configuration.

“Having the right people and right equipment are key components to any construction project, and this crossing was no exception,” commented Ron Halderman, project manager for Mears Group. The new rig that Mears commissioned on this project, although more than large enough for a project of this size, has many safety features that are integral to its design such as handrails and ladders strategically placed to assist the crew during operations.