Drilling under a hibernating bear in Alberta, with minimal disruption!

In January 2024, Brownline Canada provided gyro steering services for a horizontal directional drill (HDD) in Greenview County, Alberta. The unique location made this a very special project: the drill crossed under a bear den!

This 402 m / 1319 ft HDD crossing was carried out by Rueckers HDD & Construction. The aim was to construct a pipeline to connect two liquefied natural gas plants. This stretch of the pipeline crossed a bear habitat, in fact, the bear den was only 120 m / 400 ft from the entry point.

Minimal disruption to the environment

To keep the impact on the environment as small as possible, the Drillguide Gyro Steering Tool was used to survey this crossing. In the area surrounding the bear den, surface access was restricted. Our GST makes it possible to drill the most accurate crossings without requiring surface access. This means the wildlife in this area, including the hibernating bear, was not disturbed.

Outside of the restricted zone, near the exit point, Brownline deployed its GPS track for additional verification of the drilled trajectory. GPS track needs very little space on the surface for this check, so surface disruption was kept to a minimum again.

Some small waterways were also crossed, and the annular pressure was monitored constantly using the Pressure-While-Drilling module in the GST. This insight into the downhole pressures greatly reduced the risk of inadvertent returns.

The S-curve of this design (5° + 9° horizontal curve) was made smoothly and within Right-of-Way specifications, and the drill head was received successfully in the exit pit.

Interested in how our tools can help with your drilling project? Contact us!

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