... Editor's Message: Exploring New Opportunities in Energy Construction - North American Energy Pipelines

Editor’s Message: Exploring New Opportunities in Energy Construction

Historically, this magazine has focused on petrochemical pipelines. So why are we talking about
ocean waves?

Everyone knows the energy industry is changing. From lowering greenhouse gas emissions to developing more sustainable sources, there’s a lot of talk about shifting away from fossil fuels.

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Those familiar with the energy industry know that oil and gas can’t be supplanted overnight. However, there is a real effort among pipeline operators to explore the viability of hydrogen, renewable natural gas and carbon capture projects.

As pipeline operators explore alternative energy sources, it behooves pipeline contractors to also explore new opportunities in the energy construction space.

The May/June issue’s cover story highlights the PacWave South project, the first commercial-scale, utility grid-connected wave energy test site in the United States. Sponsored by Oregon State University, the project involves the construction of four testing “berths” to demonstrate the viability of wave energy.

RELATED: Surfing the PacWave – The HDD Company Adapts Pipeline Know-How to Innovative Wave Energy Project in Oregon

These wave energy testing sites will be constructed more than a mile off the coast of Oregon. To connect these facilities to onshore infrastructure, four conduits were installed by horizontal directional drilling (HDD) below the ocean floor, connecting to an onshore conduit that terminates at a massive concrete cable vault.

While not a true pipeline construction project, PacWave South required plenty of pipeliner know-how. The HDD Company relied on its experience building pipelines, as well as installing offshore fiber-optic lines, to construct the large-diameter subsea and terrestrial conduits.

The project is a perfect example of how pipeliners can adapt their knowledge and methodologies to take advantage of these emerging energy construction markets, says Phill Perron, vice president of projects for The HDD Company and project manager for PacWave South.

“For these projects that involve boring 6,000 to 7,000 ft without an intersect, you need contractors with more engineering experience,” Perron says. “With PacWave, involving large-diameter cable landings, this sets the standard for pipeline contractors in the future.”

While opportunities to build large-scale oil and gas pipeline projects may be scarce in today’s market, energy infrastructure remains a vital need in North America and beyond. Experienced pipeliners can leverage their expertise to remain successful for the future.

Brad Kramer | Managing Editor, North American Energy Pipelines
Twitter: @NAEPipelines

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