Fusible PVC® Pipe Chosen for Lost Creek Water Pipeline Supplying Oil & Gas Fields

Like many mid-western states, Colorado has seen a marked increase in natural gas exploration in recent years. Advancements in the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking', are greatly increasing the economic feasibility of natural gas exploration. In the past, it was simply too expensive to recover the natural gas hidden in rock formations below America's farmlands. One thing hasn't changed, however, and that is the enormous amount of water required for fracking operations.

Normally, water is brought to a fracking site by a steady stream of water hauling tanker trucks. An increasing number of oil & gas companies are, however, crunching the numbers and determining that a pipeline system to carry water from the nearest wellfield to a fracking site is actually cheaper and more reliable.

Early in 2013, a few hand-picked contractors were given preliminary Design/Build Plans & Specs for the Lost Creek Water Pipeline in Keenesburg, Colorado. The wellfield project included a 20-inch HDPE header and laterals of various sizes of HDPE pipe ranging from 4-inch to 16-inch. One of the contractors, Connell Resources based in Fort Collins, quickly recognized an opportunity to save money by using Fusible PVC® pipe instead of HDPE to downsize the pipes without sacrificing hydraulic capacity due to Fusible PVC® pipe's favorable ID/OD relationship as compared to HDPE (assuming equivalent inside diameter, pressure class, and safety factor). Recognizing that the majority of the pipeline would be installed by direct bury/open-cut installation in a rural area with few obstructions, Connell Resources also proposed using a trencher capable of opening 5,000 LF per day. The suggestions were accepted, enabling Connell to create substantial material and installation cost savings for the owner.

Connell worked closely with UGSI's operations staff throughout construction to support fusion services, which included four McElroy fusion machines and two UGSI fusion technicians working to keep pace with the speed of the trencher. The efficiency of trenching combined with long runs of Fusible PVC® pipe (up to 2,000 LF) allowed Connell to install 6.2 miles of pipeline in less than 60 days with zero leaks during pressure testing. Dan Giesler of Connell Resources commented: "The thing we loved the most about Fusible PVC® pipe is that we could use standard MJ fittings without any special adapters. Everything with poly is specialized. Familiarity with PVC was a big plus for my crews. At utility crossings, we could just cut the Fusible PVC® pipe and use a solid sleeve. It was much easier than poly. We had some reservations about the fusing capabilities early on, but UGSI really worked well with my field crews to keep pipe ready in front of the lay crew."

Pipeline Details and Project Summary
Project: Lost Creek Water Pipeline
Location: Keenesburg, CO
Lengthy and Pipe Size: 2080 LF 4" DR25 Fusible C-900® 680 LF 6" DR25 Fusible C-900® 1320 LF 8" DR25 Fusible C-900® 2920 LF 10" DR25 Fusible C-900® 2360 LF 14" DR25 Fusible C-905® 23,495 LF 16" DR25 Fusible C-905®
Installation: Open-Cut, HDD and Jack & Bore Carrier
Pressure Text: 150 psi for 2 hours
Engineer: Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH), Inc. Matthew Benak
Contactor: Connell Resources, Dan Giesler
UGSI Contact: Steve Austin (303) 563-9467 saustin@undergroundsolutions.com

Pipe Fusion


Trencher


Trenching Operations


Trench & Pipe Ready for Install


'Roping' Fusible PVC® Pipe into Trench


Ready for Backfill