Parallel pipelines in remote Alberta forest

In the spring of 2022, Brownline Canada surveyed four bores in northwestern Alberta. These were two pairs of parallel drillings in a remote forested area west of Fox Creek, AB. These bores were part of a major gas pipeline installation leading from production plants in the northwest to the Edmonton area.

With the demand for natural gas increasing, this new pipeline system is a major advancement for the Alberta natural gas industry. Completing this pipeline required horizontal directional drillings to be performed near Fox Creek so contractor MasTec Canada, utilizing their 220,000 lbs. Rig 1 (pictured), brought in Brownline Canada to survey the pilot bores using the Drillguide Gyro Steering Tool (GST).

Sensitive environment

These crossings took place in a sensitive natural environment, which required close monitoring of the annular pressure using the GST’s Pressure-While-Drilling (PWD) module. This was key to avoiding any inadvertent returns spilling into the environment, especially since it was difficult to access certain areas with vacuum trucks due to the remote location of these crossings. As a result, no such spills took place during the pilot hole drilling phase of any of the bores.

The first pair of bores was 337 m / 1106 ft long and the second pair was 728m / 2388 ft long. All four of these crossings utilized Brownline’s GPS track add-on for a secondary verification of the drill head’s position when approaching the exit point. This additional check allowed for a perfectly accurate exit.

As a result of the accurately steered pilot holes, MasTec Canada reported that the rest of their pipeline installation operations went smoothly.

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