MSC Member Spotlight: Michael Baker International

This week’s edition features Michael Baker International, a leader in engineering and consulting services providing innovative infrastructure solutions.

Q. What services does your company provide to support shale development and/or infrastructure expansion in Pennsylvania and this region?

Michael Baker International has been providing comprehensive oil and gas planning, engineering, and design services for over 75 years.  Our expertise includes the following: site evaluation and layout; well pad design; well pad permitting; geotechnical design and engineering; route planning; facility and pipeline engineering and design; building engineering and design; civil and environmental permitting; GIT, mapping and field survey services with static, mobile and aerial LiDAR; cultural resources; construction management and inspection.

Q. What makes your company stand out from your competitors?

Michael Baker International provides full in-house capabilities and has an unmatched depth of staff capacity with extensive knowledge of the industry that enables us to provide competitive pricing and responsive service without sacrificing quality.

Q. Would you please highlight one of your company’s projects that you feel reflects positively upon the good work you provide to our industry?

Liberty Power Plant Natural Gas Pipeline in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

Michael Baker was the engineer of record for the design of a 4.5-mile, 12-inch steel natural gas transmission pipeline, city gate meter station and custody transfer station. The pipeline transports natural gas in a new cross-country right-of-way from two existing large-diameter gas transmission lines to a new natural gas-fired power generating plant near Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Our services on the project included alignment design, corrosion protection design, pipeline design, hydraulic and mechanical design, stakeholder coordination and construction support services. We utilized 3D pipe design modeling software to prepare detailed alignment drawings and perform hydraulic design, pipeline sizing, and gas temperature analysis for the pipeline design.

We provided the mechanical design, including instrumentation and electrical diagrams and mainline block valves and blow downs, for the city gate meter station and custody transfer station.

We coordinated extensively with our client, the owner of the new power plant, the owner of the gas transmission lines, third-party consultants and equipment vendors throughout the design process to ensure that all stakeholder requirements were met.

During construction we reviewed the construction contractor’s hydrostatic test plans and provided engineering design support services.

We executed this project on an aggressive schedule by fast-tracking the preparation of construction bid documents prior to the completion of design and amending construction drawings on a continuous basis for the equipment at the city gate and custody transfer stations

Q. What is one product your company has created or was involved in creating that made you feel like you made a positive impact?

Positive impact project:  Michael Baker was a major engineering consultant for the design and construction of the 789-mile-long, 48-inch diameter Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). The pipeline traverses three mountain ranges, three major earthquake faults and hundreds of rivers and streams. The four-year, $7.7 billion construction of TAPS was one of the first large-scale, privately funded projects in the world.

Since pipeline startup in 1977, TAPS has successfully transported more than 17.6 billion barrels of oil from Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Plain to the Port of Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in the U.S.  TAPS is a world class project that transformed Alaska into a major contributor to the energy supply of the United States. More than 40 years later, TAPS is still transporting oil from Alaska’s North Slope and Michael Baker is still designing pipelines in Alaska that supply TAPS with new oil.

Q. How has the natural gas industry impacted your company’s business?  Has the industry allowed your company to grow and expand employment opportunities?

The natural gas industry has been a part of Michael Baker International’s DNA for over 75 years.  Most recently, the industry has allowed for consistent organic growth in conjunction with our expanding client base that increased our employee retention.  This builds efficiencies into our work while providing our clients with dedicated staff with the institutional knowledge of their operations.

Q. How has the Marcellus Shale Coalition added value to your business?

The value of the Marcellus Shale Coalition is that it provides a platform to stay on the forefront of industry challenges.  It brings together consultants and operators to solve regulatory issues, find solutions to operational, health and safety, and engineering challenges.  It also provides advocacy to help guide lawmakers and the public to better understand the value this industry brings to our region and Country. 

Q. If you could explain one thing to external stakeholders about the opportunities that have been created for your company by the natural gas industry, what would it be? 

The development of the local natural gas industry resulted in the expansion of our energy market into the Pittsburgh region.  This has added additional diversity to our portfolio that provides more stability during fluctuations in the industries we serve.

For more information about Michael Baker International, please visit

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