Bakken Missouri River Crossing
- LocationWilliams County, North Dakota
MethodsHorizontal Directional Drilling
Pilot Hole Intersect
2.5-mile horizontal directional drill sets world record
The Bakken Missouri River Crossing Project connects an existing compressor station located in the Bakken shale oil fields in Williams County, North Dakota, to a natural gas gathering system located in McKenzie County, North Dakota.
To minimize disturbances to the area, Michels, one of the US’ largest directional drilling companies, collaboratively determined it was feasible to have a portion of the route cross beneath the Missouri River and the Lake Sakakawea Reservoir for approximately 2.5 miles using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) techniques.
The 13,247-foot (4,037-metre) drill allowed installation of a 20-inch pipe under the Missouri River. As one of the most trusted horizontal directional drilling contractors, our crew approached the 2.5-mile project by using the pilot-hole intersection method, which requires two rigs to drill simultaneously toward one another from both sides of the project and eventually meet near the middle. Gyroscopic guidance tools were used to stay precisely on the predetermined path. To minimize disturbances to the area, the bore path extended 268 feet below the bottom of the Lake Sakakawea Reservoir in the Missouri River.
The crossing was performed in late summer due to meeting the Environmental Permit requirement of no activity during the Dakota butterfly flight season. This pushed the start date into early September, putting the project up against a tight window for completion prior to the winter months, which could prove problematic for water-based drilling operations and pipeline testing procedures prior to pullback.
Michels HDD contractors also assembled and handled the massive pipe string, which took 38 hours to pull into place in three sections.
- Set world record for longest length drill in the 2.5-mile horizontal directional drill
- Provided customer with a delivery outlet for previously untapped energy resource in the area
- Skillfully completed something unprecedented while minimizing disturbances to the area
- Created an estimated 80 local jobs during peak construction activities and provided positive economic impacts for nearby businesses, housing and support services
- New facilities will now capture approximately 180 to 240 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, preventing it from otherwise flaring into the atmosphere
Click to watch the video our customer created of this record-breaking project.