Pipeline Work Starts To Flow In Canada

March 2014, Vol. 241 No. 3

Surerus Pipeline Inc. is installing three 10-km pipelines at the Long Lake Kinosis project, just south of Fort McMurray, two of which use thermal traced technology.

The project, located at one of Nexen’s integrated steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) bitumen recovery sites and upgrading operations, has a production capacity of 72,000 bopd; work is underway to increase the site’s bitumen production.

Surerus Pipeline won the $6.1 billion contract from energy developer Nexen Canada – a wholly owned subsidiary of CNOOC – China’s largest producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas.

Work on the project will include installation of three pipelines, two of which use thermal traced pipe-in-pipe (PIP) technology provided by French company InTerPipe (ITP).

Each pipe consists of an outbound hot fluids, 16-inch pipe inside one 20-inch pipe used to transport fluids from Kinosis to Long Lake; one 12-inch pipe inside a 16-inch pipe that transports boiler feed water from Long Lake to Kinosis; and one standard oil pipe. This thermal technology is primarily used for lay barges, subsea pipelines and land-to-sea pipelines.

The method requires the production of insulated pipe to be custom fabricated and assembled onsite, or at ITP’s facility, so the pipeline can be pieced together. In this instance, Surerus built a 30,000-square-foot building in Gibbons, Alberta to manage the assembly of the pipes.

Because the PIP lines are twice as heavy as standard pipe and cannot be bent or roped in the traditional way, the trench must be dug much deeper in certain places. For this deeper trenching, Surerus purchased a Volvo Construction Equipment EC700C excavator that handles trenching, mass excavation, quarry loading, rock-face stripping, mining, earthmoving and material loading.

Laying Down The Law
In 2012, Surerus bought its first Volvo PL3005D pipelayer, and a few months later added seven more units to its fleet, including two PL3005D models, three PL4608 and two PL4611 models.

Weight would normally be an issue but Volvo CE’s PL4608 and PL4611 rotating pipelayers have respective tipping capacities of 80 tons and 110 tons, featuring on-board load management systems. Where the trenches are deep, the hydraulic elevating cab on the PL4608, and fixed raised cab on the PL4611, both increase visibility for operators.

“The extra height from the fixed raised cab on the Volvo PL4611 and long reach feature is ideal in this type of stacking or unloading application,” said Brian Surerus, owner of Surerus Pipeline. “The Volvo pipelayers are safe, efficient, purpose?built machines that are superior to traditional side boom dozers units for many applications.”

Veteran operator Rick Gould agreed, saying, “They are versatile – you can literally off load the pipe and swing it 180 degrees to the trench, and you can’t do that with a side boom dozer. Operator visibility is outstanding, making it safer for the operator and the ground crew.”

The Kinosis project represents the first time PIP technology has been used exclusively for a land-based pipeline. Oil is expected to flow through the new pipe in autumn.