MSC Releases Recommended Practices for Pipeline Boring

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Today, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) released Recommended Practices (RP) for Pipeline Boring, the seventh in a series of content-rich guidance documents developed by the coalition’s various subject-specific committees. Pipeline boring is a process used by pipeline companies to install pipelines under highways, railroads and bodies of water in instances where traditional trenching is not feasible.

Prior to the boring process commencing, operators must obtain all required permits and, as recommended in the guidance document, properly plan the project by evaluating the site topography, subsurface conditions and the presence of other surface features such as existing above and below ground utilities. Operators may also conduct a geotechnical investigation in or adjacent to the planned bore area, while also developing a bore profile and contingency plan.

“Building the required pipeline infrastructure to safely transport natural gas from the wellhead to the marketplace is a huge undertaking and one that requires much due diligence,” stated MSC chief executive officer Kathryn Klaber. “These Recommended Practices for Pipeline Boring provide operators with a road map to ensure that these projects are constructed with the highest degree of integrity, that operators plan appropriately prior to construction, and that contingency plans are in place.”

While most pipeline construction is completed through the traditional trenching process, boring is often used when crossing under a body of water, highway or railroad. Boring is completed by drilling along a predetermined and approved path below the aforementioned areas. Operators use a clay-based, non-hazardous drilling fluid (bentonite) that is approximately 96 percent water and aids in the drilling process.

The MSC’s Recommended Practices for Pipeline Boring also provide detailed information on contingency planning for an inadvertent return, a process when boring fluid comes to the surface through natural cracks in the subsurface that may not have been identified during the planning phase.

Continued Klaber, “While bentonite is a non-hazardous compound that has many common applications, it’s important that the public has a good, fact-based understanding of this process, and that operators plan accordingly should they experience an inadvertent return during pipeline boring. MSC member companies are dedicated to operating transparently and in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”

To view the MSC’s Recommended Practices, click HERE.