It’s been a rough two years for the oil and gas pipeline industry. Ever since oil prices took a nose dive starting in the summer of 2014, pipeline projects have stalled or been canceled. However, there may be some good news on the horizon.
Oil prices have started to tick back up since January and now hover around $50 per barrel. And if the results of a major pipeline equipment auction are an indicator, perhaps pipeliners are starting to gear up in anticipation of projects to come.
Ritchie Bros. hosted a record-breaking auction Sept. 28-29, in Columbus, Ohio, where more than 3,400 equipment items were sold for more than $76 million (USD). Approximately $61 million of the equipment was sold on the first day of the auction, which marked the largest single sale day the company has ever had in the United States. The big highlight of the auction was the incredible amount of pipeline equipment, including more than 175 crawler pipelayers. I saw one bidder drop more than $4.5 million on nine such pipelayers in one shot.
The auction featured more than 3,600 registered bidders from 52 countries, more than 2,500 of which were online. U.S. buyers accounted for about 91 percent of the purchases. The rest went to such countries as Singapore, South Africa and The Netherlands.
North American Oil & Gas Pipelines editorial advisory board member Kevin Waschuk was there all the way from Red Deer, Alberta. He said the auction means good things for the pipeline industry.
“The amount of investment at this auction clearly signals that the industry is moving in the right direction: forward,” said Waschuk, vice president of Waschuk Pipe Line Construction Ltd. “As a contractor, it is so important to be adequately prepared for work when it arrives. Although many buyers currently have work under way and were padding their fleet, there were also many who were positioning themselves for the future.”
We hope to help you be more prepared for the future with the sixth edition of the Big Equipment Handbook — your No. 1 spec guide for the large machinery used on oil and gas pipeline construction projects throughout North America.
As pipeline contractors look to take on more projects in the coming months, you’ll need the right tools to handle the workload. That’s why once again we’ve asked the top equipment manufacturers and suppliers to provide you with a snapshot of their product offerings, focusing on equipment specs and capabilities. The result is a wide array of equipment that you can make an apples-to-apples comparison between manufacturers and their various models — all in a package you can hold in your hands. It’s a field manual that can carry with you, throw in the glovebox of your work truck or file away for later reference.
The Big Equipment Handbook takes you from cradle to grave, with right-of-way clearing implements, pipe handling tools, crawler carriers, pipe bending machines, trenchers, hydraulic excavators, vacuum excavators, HDD rigs, boring machines and restoration equipment like padders and hydro-seeders. This year we have also added dozers to the mix because you, our readers, demanded it.
If there’s anything else you think we should add, let us know. This sourcebook is meant to be a helpful guide as you make your next big equipment purchase. These machines represent a substantial financial commitment, and an uncertain oil and gas market makes it ever more imperative that we all make wise choices in all of our purchases (or leases).