Gateway Pipeline Tackles Trenchless Tasks With Ditch Witch Drills

The Gateway Companies, LLC, Shawnee, Oklahoma, specializes in a wide range of construction for oil and gas companies in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, including pipeline construction.

Gateway Pipeline constructs energy pipelines, much of the work is open-cut construction employing large excavators and track trenchers. However, on most pipeline projects, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is required for segments where excavation is impractical or impossible or banned by environmental restrictions.

That’s when Gateway Directional Drilling is called in.

Gateway drilling crews make trenchless installations to install pipe beneath rivers, streams and other bodies of water; roads and highways; beneath railroad crossings; in environmentally sensitive areas; and other locations where HDD is the only viable method for placing pipe underground.

“The majority of our work is oil and gas related, but we have completed projects in other industry categories, as well,” said Gary Paule, Gateway Drilling general manager.

Currently the company uses two Ditch Witch drill units: A 30,000-pound pullback JT3020 All Terrain (AT) unit that can effectively drill through hard rock formations and a 100,000-pound pullback JT100 Mach 1.

The patented, dual-pipe AT system enables both drill units to effectively bore and steer through rock that is beyond the capabilities of conventional equipment of comparable size and pullback ratings. The dual-pipe AT system employs an inner rod that drives a rock bit and an outer pipe that steers the downhole tool for drilling pilot holes and to provide rotary torque for backreaming. The system enables simultaneous drilling and steering through rock and rocky soil. AT equipment requires no more drilling fluid than conventional equipment, and it can drill effectively through dirt.

Paule said energy-field HDD installations range from 100 to 1,600 feet to install HDPE and steel pipe in diameters of 2 to 24 inches.

The JT100 was recently added to expand the company’s HDD capabilities, said Paule.

“The JT100 is performing to every expectation,” said Paule. “We are especially impressed with the machine’s unique system of lifting the pipe into the top basket and pulling off the full top basket with little downtime. Its auger-style stake-down system helps to make setup and teardown quick and easy. The pipe-loading system is simple and quick with less buttons to push.

“The rig handled the larger 30- and 36-inch fly cutters very well. We had no trouble turning the reamers, and the rig did not struggle to handle them.

“All in all, the machine cuts our work time down and allows us to move to another job and helps make more money for the business.”

Gateway Directional Drilling’s plans for the future are to continue growing and meeting market demands, said Paule.

“We are a family-owned directional drilling company with a reputation for completing projects in a timely manner without sacrificing safety,” he added. “We are an ISNET-compliant company with a full-time safety manager to ensure field personnel meet all government and client safety regulations and requirements.”

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