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Civil Design Simplification

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Civil Design Simplification

We, at Precision, have a very good understanding, both from past experience and practical civil design, of how to provide fit-for-purpose solutions on every project. It is apparent, in the oil and gas industry, that civil designs have become very elaborate in some cases due to lack of geotechnical information and in other cases due to inexperience in the industry. For the most part, 95% of the foundations we deal with are steel pipe piles, whether vibratory driven, traditional driven, or screwed. The industry has gone away from vibratory driven piles due to the inability to quantitatively determine the pile load capacity. In many cases, vibratory driven piles can be deemed acceptable in certain ground conditions for pipe supports, small metering buildings, stairs and platforms, small static loads with little or no lateral forces, etc. However, client specifications in some cases have deemed these unacceptable, thus requiring steel driven piles or screwed piles depending on ground conditions.

Precision has extensive history with both types of piles, driven and screw. Currently for our clients, we utilize a combination of both and choose accordingly based on ground conditions, loading, static or cyclic design, etc. Precision works very closely with the piling contractor during installation on all projects to validate the installations real time and make adjustments as necessary. Some of the areas in which we work (e.g., NE Alberta and Foothills) present very challenging ground conditions for piling installation, thus validating pile capacities as they are installed is very important. Another important factor to consider is the pre-drill diameter as diameter adjustments may be necessary to even get the piles in the ground. We typically strive to have the pre-drill rig and pile driving rig on site at the same time to allow for these adjustments to be made without additional mobilization charges incurred. Without geotechnical information available for much of the projects we do and ground conditions that vary widely even on the same lease, pile installation validation during install is just as important as the initial design in our opinion.

Precision always strives to have our piping design sorted out to a point where we can perform proper stress analysis to validate lateral loads on pipe supports so as to not make assumptions and overdesign our civil and structural designs. In past experience, projects with short timelines can result in some very conservative civil designs due to not having the required time to properly validate the lateral loads on pipe supports and to refine the design. With our approach to standardized designs within any given area or field, we have been able to mitigate or limit much of the conservativeness in such designs.

A couple of specific examples for purpose civil designs include:

Validating the use of screwed vs. driven pipe piles on the Gordondale Satellites.
Real time validation of the installation of steel driven piles in muskeg ground conditions for Devon’s Jackfish source and disposal water wellsites.

In the event that any civil design becomes extremely difficult or beyond our abilities, Precision engages one of our civil design expert subcontractors who can provide the necessary guidance when determining a fit for purpose design.