Case Studies

Ranger Directional Drilling: Turnkey Pipeline Construction

  • Written by: Ranger Directional Drilling: Turnkey Pipeline Construction
  • Produced by: Ranger Directional Drilling: Turnkey Pipeline Construction
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Ranger Directional Drilling (RDI) bought out a small drilling operation in southern Louisiana in 1993 with all intentions of making it big. RDI has successfully completed projects on schedule in some of the most geologically challenging situations, ranging from Louisiana’s trademark gumbo soil to the unyielding granite of the Carolinas and everything in between. The company has a knack that was born out of necessity for dealing with environmentally sensitive areas, including swamps, highways and waterways. The team at RDI consistently performs underground installation of product pipelines and conduits, no matter the obstacles presented by the local landscape.

The company also performs horizontal directional drilling (HDD), which uses a surface-drilling rig to install the pipeline or conduit in a shallow arc along a prescribed bore path. HDD is ideal for the types of conditions that RDI operates under, mainly because it has minimal impact on the surrounding area. The company has been trying to move toward reducing unnecessary excavation and trenching, especially in Louisiana’s soil.

According to Eddie Clyde, president of RDI, the HDD technique is more environmentally friendly and beneficial to the company’s backlog and reputation. “I think the boring side of the business is going better,” says Clyde. “There are plenty of opportunities in both drilling markets, but boring’s becoming more and more popular.”

Fascinating Boring Work

The company’s growth was steady in 2011, according to Clyde. “There’s a good amount of pipeline work going on and people are still doing a lot of building for natural gas as well,” he continues. Pipeline work is an area in which RDI is comfortable playing the role of subcontractor with the more traditional directional drilling work, usually required for oil and gas.

The highly capable team subcontracted on a project that crossed over state lines. RDI was tasked with running new bored pipelines from Rawlins, Texas, to Baton Rouge, La. “It was a lot of drill work,” recalls Clyde. “The bored pipes made the whole thing easier. We didn’t have to dig up the land as much or at all.”

The terrain presented plenty of obstacles, however. Swamps and rivers abounded and the RDI team had to take into account existing pipelines and wells. RDI managed to complete the job with minimal disturbance to the area with the team’s trademarked efficient timekeeping. The staff has the field knowledge paramount to handling changes in down-hole drilling, while running sophisticated steering equipment, mud motors and drilling rigs. However, the company’s construction team doesn’t just focus on landscape directional drilling; RDI enjoys the tight, delicate work necessary for the congestion of a city’s piping as well.

RDI also worked on a vast replacement project in the city of Thibodeaux, La., which required the team’s HDD skills. “Autumn and spring are the seasons when its usually time to replace a lot of sewer and water lines, because they’re getting old,” explains Clyde. “Cities are investing more into infrastructure these days, and infrastructure will always need to be replaced at some point.” The company was the main contractor on the project and the team replaced a large portion of the city’s water lines. When it comes to dealing with HDD and waterline work, RDI prefers to rely on the expertise of its 80-plus staff members rather than subcontractors.

“We have a separate division that works only on the municipal water and sewer line side of things,” states Clyde. “The Thibodeaux job is pretty involved and we put them on it.” RDI’s key field management personnel have a collective 50 years of experience and the company’s construction management team has over 60 years among them. The company prides itself on the staff’s rigid adherence to safety codes as well as its adaptability to design a complete drilling package. Balancing these two sides of the business has kept RDI in high demand for many years.

From the Drawing Board to the Field

RDI proves itself to be a turnkey operation by having a design staff in addition to providing on-task construction and installation services. While the RDI team executes all aspects of a pipeline or water line job, it also does HDD installations for telecommunications, gas, electric and fiber-optic cable utilities. The company is now a leader in domestic U.S. utility infrastructure due to its diversification of services. Since RDI is a member of the Quanta Services Inc. family of companies, it has the financial backing to keep exploring new aspects of HDD, while making connections with similar organizations.

The company has even worked alongside several big names in the construction business, including GHC Professional Roofing (GHC) and Sunland Construction Inc. (Sunland). GHC is a restoration, adjustment and roofing company that provided support and repair to the southern areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Wilma. And Sunland is a fellow pipeline construction company that provides numerous other services, and has goals that perfectly mesh with RDI. All three companies share a strong commitment to safety, as well as a work ethic driven by integrity.

The staff of RDI may specialize in underground construction, but the team holds a great deal of respect for the surface environment. RDI will ensure that the team leaves each site as untouched as when arrived, while continuing to administer the team’s technical expertise and distinctive drilling applications to future jobs. RDI is able to achieve the end result of a fully functioning pipeline without harming the local landscape by utilizing the Ranger Directional Drilling Inc. team’s diverse skill set and pipe-boring technology.

Published on: March 13, 2013

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