HDD Helps Producer Tap Gas Reserves Under DFW Airport

August 2009 Vol. 64 No. 8

“Water is pumped into the shale that is mixed in with some recyclers,” Drivers said. “We also have a mud mixing unit set up next to the drill rig. The mud mixture is pumped down the hole with a triplex pump, anywhere from 85 300 gpm, depending on the rig size. This is also reclaimed so it can be used again.”

Production rates vary depending on the conditions, but Driver’s crew of between 125 150 onsite, average approximately 500 feet a day to ream and pull pipe through.

Installation challenges (subhed)

With hundreds of takeoffs and landings occurring daily and the potential for thousands of people looking on, Driver agreed that this is the most visible and important project ever undertaken by the company. The company’s knowledge and experience, plus the fact that Driver is locally based, provided an advantage over other contractors.

“This is our backyard,” Driver said. “We know the terrain, the composition and the geography better than anyone. We’ve done a lot of work in urban areas that are congested, have high visibility and are complicated. But this one certainly is the trophy. We are constantly in the forefront of people coming and going, in and out of the airport, so that alone generates a lot of attention. We did a project similar to this a few years ago that involved installing a gas pipeline near the Baltimore/Washington Airport, but nothing of this magnitude.”

Working with a number of different entities for bidding, permits and compliance with FAA regulations and restrictions is also a daunting component of this project. And if that weren’t enough, when work commenced, Driver had to deal with the wrath of Mother Nature.

“We had rain for more than 50 of the first 90 days when we started the work,” Driver recalled. “We needed to get the first five miles of 24 inch pipeline in the ground in order to begin production on the initial wells and not have what we call a WOPL (i.e. waiting on the pipeline). We were able to stay on schedule and constructed the first five miles using HDD under two major highways, railroads, water lines and environmental restrictions. It was quite an accomplishment.”

Driver has completed nearly 80 percent of the installation so far and should be close to completion within the next few months. When the infrastructure is complete, this vast underground maze of pipelines will deliver a large amount of natural gas from beneath one of the world’s busiest airports, and ultimately, to locations throughout the United States, providing energy for thousands of customers.