WorldWide Drilling Resource

37 JANUARY 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® Crossing the Murray River without a Trace Adapted from Information by Coastal GasLink The Coastal GasLink pipeline project spans 416 miles across British Columbia. Once complete, the pipeline will deliver natural gas from northeastern British Columbia to a facility in Kitimat where it will be prepared for export to global markets. The pipeline is being built to move 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas with the potential for delivery of up to 5 bcf/d, dependent on the number of compressor and meter facilities constructed. Recent horizontal directional drilling (HDD) activity across the Murray River marked the fourth and largest trenchless water crossing of the project at over 4200 feet long. The section of pipe weighs over 1.2 million pounds, and the 48-inch HDD project is also one of the longest in North America. Years of planning were involved in making the project a success. The HDD pull was a highly coordinated process. As the tunnel was drilled below the river, pipe was held by cranes on land with some segments suspended approximately 29 feet in the air to ensure a 14-degree angle at the entry point. Some cranes held over 100,000 pounds at a time. The pipe was carefully passed through the cranes and under the Murray River. “By using HDD at Murray River, we’re able to minimize our footprint, especially around the riparian areas of a major watercourse, reducing our environmental impact,” explained Jeff VanHeukelom, a lead environmental inspector for Coastal GasLink. Before construction began, environmental assessments took place to find the least intrusive water crossing method. “Everything from water flow, bank stability, fish presence and habitat, constructability, and regulatory requirements [were] carefully considered,” said Adair Rigney, Coastal GasLink’s team lead of environmental planning and permitting. During construction in and around fishbearing water crossings, environmental inspectors and water quality crews collected regular readings of the water to monitor effects of construction and were prepared to take immediate corrective action to prevent potential impacts to the environment. When the Coastal GasLink project is complete and operational, water above the HDD crossings will continue to be monitored. The project route will also be routinely monitored by aerial patrol, ground, and in-line inspection surveys. “At the end of the day, it’s not just about our own legacy and reputation. There are many people who live on, and use this land to make a living, and we want to make sure we help protect what matters most to them,” said VanHeukelom. With the Murray River crossing successfully behind them, over 4500 workers are carrying on with the next phases of construction. Along with crossing below rivers, the Coastal GasLink pipeline will include other underground crossings as well as aboveground facilities. Through grassy green fields and flowing rivers, to granite hills and snowcovered mountains, construction of the pipeline and reclamation of the land are equally important goals of the project. DIR