DNV GL launches standard improving quality and risk of pipelines using horizontal directional drilling

Horizontal directional drilling is a construction method in the trenchless industry, which provides significant improvements over traditional open cut methods for installing pipelines beneath obstructions such as rivers, highways and railroads

Frank Ketelaars, regional manager, Americas, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.
Frank Ketelaars, regional manager, Americas, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.

The new standard, DNVGL-ST-F121, was created through a joint industry project (JIP) and provides a series of minimum requirements and best practice for all phases, from site investigation, engineering and planning to execution of pipeline installation to reducing the risk associated to horizontal directional drilling (HDD) crossings.

HDD is a construction method in the trenchless industry, which provides significant improvements over traditional open cut methods for installing pipelines beneath obstructions such as rivers, highways and railroads.

These include preservation of the ground surface of the construction site, minimal requirement for site preparation and reinstatement, and secure depth of cover.

The use of HDD installation techniques has grown significantly over the last few decades.

The 21st Annual Underground Construction magazine HDD survey estimated in 2019 that contractors expected HDD to be applied to nearly half (47%) of their projects.

However, HDD crossings are complex in nature and often challenging. It is not uncommon to face problems during execution with significant impact on cost and schedule. The best way to overcome this is to ensure a proper investigation, engineering, planning and execution of all drilling-related activities.

The earlier potential risks and problems are identified in an HDD project, the better for the delivery of the project.

All these challenges led to a JIP to consolidate the knowledge and experience of HDD. Operators, EPC companies and drilling contractors were brought together for the first time, addressing not only the borehole stability and the drilling activities perspective but also the aspects related to the pipeline integrity too.

DNV GL brought together a multi-disciplinary group of experts that resulted in a new standard that has established clear parameters, limits and criteria for essential issues related to HDD projects,” said Frank Ketelaars, regional manager, Americas, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.

DNVGL-ST-F121 is part of a portfolio of nearly 80 different DNV GL standards and recommended practices for the oil and gas industry.

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