BTC Pipeline HDD Crossing of Kura River

GeoEngineers overcame difficult geologic conditions during oil pipeline installation, and helped complete the project after earlier setbacks.

Location

Tblisi, Republic of Georgia

GeoEngineers provided expert geologic and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) advice and design input that led to the completion of the final segment of the 1,100-mile-long BTC oil pipeline that carries 1 million barrels of crude oil a day from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. HDD was used to install the pipeline beneath the Kura River, the largest river in the Republic of Georgia.

Before GeoEngineers was hired, two failed tunneling attempts had taken up nearly a year of the project’s tight construction schedule.

Approach

Initial construction difficulties and delays occurred after the horizontal bores collapsed beneath an active railway embankment. GeoEngineers determined that site geologic conditions, including highly folded and faulted mudstone and sandstone, were the root cause of the initial HDD failures and bore collapse.

The project team recommended an alternate drill path and contractors used upgraded drilling tools to complete the crossing successfully.

Results

  • GeoEngineers’ redesign, which included lowering the bore alignment, eliminated the collapse problems.
  • The 2,450-foot crossing was completed successfully in ten weeks on the first attempt after the GeoEngineers redesign.

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