Pipeline Border Crossing

Matching Right Rig For The Job Ensures Success
January 2009 Vol. 64 No. 1

There are long bores. And then there are really long bores.

While the definition of “long” might differ from contractor to contractor, few will dispute that a 5,000 foot drill is a very long directional bore.

That’s the length Bryan Dolan and his crews recently tackled after being hired by Wyatt’s Construction to help install an 81 mile stretch of 12 inch gas pipeline for ONEOK Inc., the largest natural gas distributor in Kansas and Oklahoma, and the third largest in Texas. ONEOK is installing a 440 mile pipeline that will transport raw natural gas liquids from processing plants in Oklahoma and the Bartlett Shale natural gas production area in north Texas to the Texas gulf coast.

For Dolan, president of Dolan Directional Drilling Inc., Keller, TX, he actually seeks out such work because he knows he has the equipment and the expertise to do the job. A former equipment salesman, Dolan started his company in late 2000, right before the horizontal directional drilling market hit one of its lowest points in history. Like everyone else, Dolan says he began by installing fiber optics, but as that market began to go bust, he took on whatever work he could.

“Then the fiber to the premises work came along, which was a good shot in the arm, and about that time, the pipeline was kicking off in the Barnett Shale. We started doing some of that and it grew to where we changed our whole business from being able to do small installation work to doing all gas pipeline work,” he says.

Today, Dolan Directional Drilling has the capabilities to drill bores up to 6,000-feet long and install product up to 36-inches in diameter. While the company also installs water and sewer lines, gas pipeline installation makes up at least 98 percent of their business.

In the gas industry, Dolan says most contractors either trench or directional drill. Over the years, as he has come to specialize in gas pipeline installation, Dolan has tried to set his company apart by offering a variety of installation options. In addition to HDD work, his company also has track trenchers and auger boring equipment.

“We can do directional bores, auger bores and trenching, so the gas contractor only has to call one person out to the job, instead of two or three different subcontractors,” Dolan explains.

Long bores? No problem