Directional Drilling

Northern Courier Crossings

Northern Courier Crossings


Northern Alberta, BC




Horizontal Directional Drilling, Direct PipeĀ®, Automatic Welding, Pipe Pull Support, Equipment Winterization


Seven 42-inch heavy wall pipeline trenchless crossings were installed by Michels. Of the seven crossings, six were executed using the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methodology, and one was completed using Direct PipeĀ® technology.

Four of the HDD's were in excess of 1,000 meters including the 2,200 meter crossing of the Athabasca River -- a new North American record for pipe of this diameter.

Due to the length of the alignment, the design included a pilot hole intersect method and utilized two Michels drill rigs, each capable of producing 1.2 million pounds of thrust. The work scope also included 7,622 meters of pipe string makeup and pullback support. The 42 NPS, 1-inch wall thickness pipe joints were joined using an automatic welding system, which significantly increases weld quality as compared to manual welding.

The seven trenchless crossings were completed within Northern Alberta's winter conditions, requiring the use of boilers and heated enclosures to maintain equipment. Michels achieved zero lost time and zero environmental incidents throughout the entire duration of the job.

  • Michels installed Seven 42-inch heavy wall pipeline trenchless crossings.
  • Michels utilized horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methodology in conjunction with TransCanada's Northern Courier Pipeline Project.