Marcellus Trade Group Issues Pipeline Boring Recommendations
The State Journal
23 May 2013
By Pam Kasey
Pipeline boring is the subject of the seventh guidance document
issued by the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
Recommended Practices for Pipeline Boring, released May 22, offers
best practices for the process used by pipeline companies to
install pipelines under highways, railroads and bodies of water in
instances where traditional trenching is not feasible.
"Building the required pipeline infrastructure to safely transport
natural gas from the wellhead to the marketplace is a huge
undertaking and one that requires much due diligence," stated MSC
CEO Kathryn Klaber.
"These Recommended Practices for Pipeline Boring provide operators
with a road map to ensure that these projects are constructed with
the highest degree of integrity, that operators plan appropriately
prior to construction and that contingency plans are in place,"
While most pipeline construction is completed through trenching,
boring often is used when crossing under a body of water, highway
or railroad. An approved path is drilled beneath the surface
In addition to obtaining all required permits, operators need to
plan their projects by evaluating the site topography, subsurface
conditions and the presence of other surface features such as
above- and below-ground utilities, the guidance document
Operators also may conduct geotechnical investigations in or
adjacent to planned bore areas, while also developing bore
profiles and contingency plans. The guideline document also
provide detailed information on contingency planning for an
inadvertent return, a process when boring fluid comes to the
surface through natural cracks in the subsurface that may not have
been identified during the planning phase.
Operators use a drilling fluid that includes bentonite clay to aid
in the drilling process.
"While bentonite is a non-hazardous compound that has many common
applications, it's important that the public has a good,
fact-based understanding of this process, and that operators plan
accordingly should they experience an inadvertent return during
pipeline boring," Klaber said. "MSC member companies are dedicated
to operating transparently and in a safe and environmentally
The MSC's recommended practices documents may be found on the