Strike and its subcontractor partner, Laney Directional Drilling, recently completed the Sabine-Neches Waterway Direct Pipe™ Project. This water line will bring water from Port Arthur, Texas to Cheniere's LNG facility in Louisiana, the largest LNG facility in the world. This pipeline, the longest of its kind to be installed using the Direct Pipe method in the U.S., runs approximately 3,500 ft. under a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) levee, Kansas City Southern Railroad, and the Sabine-Neches waterway.
The project began in February 2015 and was completed in May 2015. Strike and Laney Directional Drilling installed the pipe in 22 days using a Herrenknecht 750 metric ton Direct Pipe thruster. Direct Pipe is a single pass tunneling method that combines microtunneling and a steerable tunnel boring machine-cutting head to directly tunnel and install the pipe simultaneously. The installation consisted of approximately 3,500 ft. of 48 in. diameter X60 steel casing pipe followed by pulling a 30 in. diameter HDPE through the casing.
The Direct Pipe method was chosen over horizontal directional drilling (HDD) method in this installation to meet USACE's minimum factor of safety of 2 for systems run under the levee. It is particularly effective and efficient in challenging environmental, geotechnical and physical conditions such as those found in the Sabine-Neches waterway area. The primary challenges the construction team faced were the geology of the area and the need to work within a residential neighborhood, minimizing workspace and limiting back pipe stringing areas.
Strike and Laney expect to partner again this fall to complete three additional Direct Pipe crossings for Chenier's LNG facility in Louisiana. The four projects represent a total of approximately 8,300 cumulative feet.