Underground Construction - June 2022 - 31

24th Annual Directional Drilling Survey
to intrastate and minor jobs, leaving
the existing pipeline infrastructure to
carry the load.
With incentives removed, green lawsuits
lined up. Viewed favorably by the
current administration and its backers,
it's hard to blame energy companies for
moving slowly, rewarding shareholders,
and seeing what tomorrow will bring.
Even should opportunities re-emerge
soon, the new regulatory burdens and
hurdles will slow the growth of pipelines.
Changing tides
The good news for pipelines is that the
political pendulum is beginning to swing
back towards supporting the industry.
With fuel prices at record highs and inflation
out of control, pressure continues to
amass against current politics inhibiting
traditional oil and gas markets.
To further add complexity and concern
to the situation, President Biden has
continuously been raiding the national
strategic petroleum reserves, expecting it
to ease high fuel costs, but to little or no
effect. The result is that now our reserves
are also at low levels, without much hope
of being replenished anytime soon.
Moderate
Democrats
and Repub -
licans are both clamoring for action by
the Biden Administration to address
these issues, as the energy crisis drags on.
A veteran large rig owner from the
Southwest had an interesting take on the
situation.
" I've been in this market for over 40
years and weathered plenty of tough
times, " he observed. " But never have we
had such a rough stretch when the price of
oil and gas are setting records! You would
expect our markets to be booming. "
A veteran driller from the Midwest
related an amusing story.
" Last year we were drilling a gas pipeline
crossing. There were a few protestors
for a couple of days. One yelled at me
that we should be using green hydrogen
instead of gas. I yelled back 'that's fine
with us - hydrogen still needs to be transported
in a pipeline!' The guy frowned
and turned away. These people don't
understand the nature of energy. "
Other markets
Another aspect of the Infrastructure Bill
that could impact underground utilities
and, specifically, HDD is the $65 billion
dedicated to the " hardening " of the power
grid, ostensibly to better absorb weather
extremes and reduce mass outages.
Small rig directional drilling has
become a common tool for installation
of distribution electric lines and in recent
years, there has been a steady swing
towards placing transmission lines underground
via mid- to large-size HDD rigs.
The technology to place these transmission
lines underground has steadily
improved to the point that many utilities,
increasingly under pressure to do away
with the eyesores, continuous maintenance
and inefficiencies of electric transmission
towers, have started examining
new construction options.
HDD has slowly gained favor, albeit
still more expensive due to the requirement
of heat-shedding thermal grouts
and conduits. Still, the cost discrepancy
between overhead versus underground
continues to shrink, making HDD
more practical.
While hardening of the electric grid
can encompass many options, simply
going underground with both new and
established distribution and transmission
lines is the preferred choice for
longevity, reduced maintenance and
aesthetics by most power utilities, when
funds are available.
It's unknown at this time how much
of the $65 billion will be spent moving
electric grids underground, but most
experts expect it to be substantial. This
could whip up the small rig market even
more, but also provide work for the
beleaguered big rig market.
The water market continues to grow
and so does the use of HDD, offering mid
and large rigs multiple project opportunities.
While most large directional drilling
companies are accustomed to working
with private industry (i.e., oil and gas
firms) and prefer not to engage in the
public works market. organizations such
as municipal water agencies offer prospects
that are sorely needed. Plus, HDD
use for water installations is projected to
be a lucrative market for some time.
" While we still prefer working in the
oil and gas industry (for pipelines), we are
doing quite a lot of water drilling, " said
this Midwestern contractor. " It's different
than working for gas companies and
has its own separate slate of challenges.
But it's keeping us reasonably busy for
now. In fact, even when pipelines come
For your next rig purchase, what size do you anticipate buying?
10
20
30
40
50
60
58.2%
38.7%
3.1%
Mini
(under 40,000
pounds/pullback)
Mid
(40,000-100,000
pounds/pullback)
Large
(more than 100,000
pounds/pullback)
UCONonline.com | JUNE 2022 31
http://www.UCONonline.com

Underground Construction - June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underground Construction - June 2022

Contents
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover1
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover2
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Contents
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 4
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 5
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 6
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 7
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 8
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 9
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 10
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 11
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 12
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 13
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 14
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 15
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 16
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 17
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 18
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 19
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 20
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 21
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 22
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 23
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 24
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 25
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 26
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 27
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 28
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 29
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 30
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 31
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 32
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 33
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 34
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 35
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 36
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 37
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 38
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 39
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 40
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 41
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 42
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 43
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 44
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 45
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 46
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 47
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 48
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 49
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 50
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 51
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 52
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 53
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 54
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 55
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 56
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 57
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 58
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover3
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover4
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