Underground Construction - June 2020 - 18

22ND ANNUAL DIRECTIONAL DRILLING SURVEY
Robert Carpenter | Editor-in-Chief

HDD Markets: Split Personalities
For the horizontal directional drilling
(HDD) industry, these are indeed
interesting times. While many contractors
still thrive in their market segments,
others struggle mightily.
Forever known as the year of the
Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has seen
businesses change in heretofore
unimaginable ways. "Essential businesses"
became a new buzzword that, fortunately,
has allowed underground infrastructure
work to continue. HDD contractors, for
the most part, have remained somewhat
busy while steering through variable
market currents.
"It's been a wild ride, but we're doing
okay," agreed a Northeast contractor.
According to this Southwest contractor,
"The coronavirus hasn't slowed down our
work as much as it has hampered it with
all the extra health precautions."
A Midwest contractor was "thankful
the gas companies have plenty of work
still going on - we're staying busy." A

Mid-Atlantic respondent confirmed that
"between fiber builds and 5G, we've still
got plenty on our plate."
Still, there have been major impacts
to certain segments of the HDD
market. Large-rig drillers were already
experiencing challenges in the first
quarter of 2020 due to slowdowns in
pipeline construction and, subsequently,
directional drilling. Energy pipeline
projects account for the greatest percent
of business for large and jumbo HDD rig
operators. For that market, issues abound
in the first half of 2020.
"Our work this year was mainly
projects for pipeline construction. We've
had slowdowns and delays since March.
We've also had two major jobs postponed
indefinitely for the second half of the
year," divulged an East Coast contractor.
"We'll have to lay off staff in May and
we're even looking at temporarily shutting
down the entire company at some point if
we can't pick up additional work."

This information and much more is
revealed in the 22nd Annual Underground
Construction HDD Survey, which reflects
an industry that has largely escaped the
devasting economic catastrophes that
have been experienced by the travel,
transportation and other markets.
The versatility of HDD in a variety of
essential markets has kept it grounded
and growth potential is expected to reemerge as the economy rebounds.
This exclusive Underground Construction
industry research was conducted during
March and April. It surveyed contractors
and utilities that actively own and operate
HDD units to enable a statistical portrayal
of the market.

Energy impacts
The sudden drop of oil and gas
consumption worldwide, by as much as 30
percent, combined with a price war between
Russia and Saudi Arabia sent oil prices
spiraling downward into negative territory.
While quickly climbing back up into positive

Primary HDD Markets (% of total)

30

2017

25..9

25

24.4 24.3

2018

2019

24.7

19.9 19.9 19.8 19.9

20

18.4

18.8

2020

Estimated

19.4 19.8

15

12.9 13.2 12.7 12.9
10.2 9.8 9.9

10

9.0 9.0 8.9 9.0
7.6

5
2.0 2.0 1.9 1.8

Telecommunications

18

Water

JUNE 2020 | UConOnline.com

Gas
distribution

Electric
transmission/
distribution

Oil/gas
transmission

Sewer

Wind/solar

3.1 3.0 2.7 3.1

Other


http://www.UConOnline.com

Underground Construction - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underground Construction - June 2020

Contents
Underground Construction - June 2020 - FC
Underground Construction - June 2020 - IFC
Underground Construction - June 2020 - Contents
Underground Construction - June 2020 - 4
Underground Construction - June 2020 - 5
Underground Construction - June 2020 - 6
Underground Construction - June 2020 - 7
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Underground Construction - June 2020 - IBC
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