Laney Directional Drilling Record Crossing

May 2012, Vol. 67 No. 5

Laney Directional Drilling Co., a leading provider of horizontal directional drilling services to the energy, telecommunications and infrastructure sectors, announced that it has successfully completed the horizontal directional drill (HDD) installation of nearly 11,000 feet of 6-inch steel gas pipeline in one pull under Lake Houston.

Lake Houston is a reservoir on the west fork of the San Jacinto River, 15 miles northeast of downtown Houston, TX. The reservoir is the secondary municipal water supply for the city of Houston after Lake Livingston.

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The project was initiated to replace the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline which parallels the FM 1960 bridge that crosses Lake Houston in northeast Harris County, TX. The replacement HDD crossing pipe was a 6-inch diameter steel pipe with a 0.432 wall thickness, coated with fusion-bonded epoxy and an abrasion resistant overlay. The pipe contractor was Sunland Construction of Eunice, LA.

The total measured distance of the HDD crossing was 10,971 feet (2.1 miles) that included a 17.5 degree sidebend and reached depths of 120 feet.

Laney used two custom built LDD-750 drilling rigs to drill the pilot hole using the intercept method. Crews drilled from both the east side and the west side of the lake simultaneously until both pilot bits were in the same hole. The pilot hole assemblies were then tripped out to the west side of Lake Houston, making one continuous drill pipe string in the hole. Because of the limited area in which to weld the product pipe in one continuous pipe string, the product pipe was pulled in from the east side in four sections, requiring three welds to be made during the pullback process.

The record project was successfully completed in just over two weeks by Laney’s experienced crews under the guidance of Field Superintendents Kevin Barton and John Odom.