Remote Trenching Operations

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | July 2013, Vol. 68, No. 7

Over the past decade, new technologies have unlocked a tremendous amount of domestic oil and gas reserves and a surge in development is taking place in shale fields of the Marcellus play in the Eastern United States; Bakken in North Dakota, Montana and Southern Canada; and Eagle Ford in South Texas.

Many of these fields are quite remote with no established infrastructure and therefor require installation of pipeline systems to gather and transport gas and oil, distribute fresh water for the fracing drilling process and provide water supplies as well as transporting other products.

The pipeline division of Kingsley Constructors Inc., Asherton, TX, has ongoing trenching operations, much of it in the Eagle Ford fields. Clients include exploration and production companies and midstream companies that gather and transport product.

Due to the remote conditions in the Eagle Ford Shale region, most pipelines are installed with the assistance of large trenching machines.

These pipeline projects require the installation of a variety of types and sizes of pipe. Kingsley’s pipeline division typically installs carbon steel pipe in diameters from two to 16 inches, HDPE pipe from two to 54 inches, and composite and Zap-Lok pipe of diameters from two to 6 inches,” said Daniel Arrant, Kingsley vice president.

“One hundred percent of the Eagle Ford work is in open country,” said Arrant. “Because the Eagle Ford is so expansive, we have to deal with a huge variety of soil types. We see anything from hard rock, caliche, sandstone, sand or dirt. Depending on the job, trench widths range from 14 to 48 inches at depths from four to 10 feet.”

Equipment
Kingsley employs seven trenchers in Eagle Ford: a Trencor T1060, Trencor T765, Vermeer T1055 and T955 models, and three Astec T560 machines. All are track machines. The company has both rock and dirt chains, but typically operates with rock chains due to the changing soil conditions in South Texas.