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Michels Completes Record Direct Pipe Installation

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Michels Corp. continues to push the limits of trenchless technologies by completing a record-length Direct Pipe installation under the Dow Barge Canal in Freeport, Texas.

The 4,038-ft installation is a North American record for Direct Pipe, according to company statement.

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The Brownsville, Wisconsin-based Michels used a Herrenknecht 750-ton pipe thruster to push the 48-in. diameter pipe string through a challenging alignment and into a shallow exit pit on Aug. 28. The project was completed in two months and runs under a flood control levee, Dow Barge Canal, a rail crossing and multiple road crossings.

In addition to completing the record-setting Direct Pipe installation, Michels worked with owner Phillips 66 and general contractor Troy Construction from the project’s inception to ensure an optimal design and maximum potential for success.

Direct Pipe is a one-pass technology that combines aspects of horizontal directional drilling and tunneling to install pipes. It is particularly effective for crossing under levees, waterway, rail tracks and roadways because the borehole is continually supported and because of a greatly reduced risk of inadvertent fluid returns.

The Direct Pipe installation was part of a larger project to build a bidirectional 30-mile, 18-in. natural gas pipeline from Sweeny to Mont Bevieu, supporting Phillips 66’s strategic growth along the Texas Gulf Coast. The pipeline will connect the Sweeny Fractionator 1, Clemens Storage Caverns and Freeport Liquefied Petroleum Gas Export Terminal with the market hub in Mont Belvieu.

The connectivity the pipeline will enable Sweeny to become a new natural gas liquids (NGL) market hub and give Phillips 66 access to abundant supplies of propane that can be processed for export.

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