Direct Pipe
December 14, 2023
Benefits of the Direct Pipe Method
February 7, 2022

As a global Horizontal Directional Drilling company specializing in trenchless construction and engineering, Laney is not only one of the most experienced and competent HDD providers for large diameter pipelines, but also a leading Direct Pipe® contractor in the United States. In fact, in May 2018, Laney completed a world-record Direct Pipe installation in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas, with the total measured distance of the installation being nearly 5,000 feet, with an additional 1,350 feet of pipe pushing out to the offshore contractor.

What makes the Direct Pipe method so unique is that it combines the benefits of both HDD and microtunneling to create a single-pass process using a steerable tunnel boring machine-cutting head. The technology both excavates the newly-created bore hole and installs pipe at the same time, a process which comes with multiple benefits.

The Direct Pipe method significantly lowers the pressure acting on the surrounding subsurface earth formation and greatly reduces the risk of hydraulic fracture and inadvertent returns. This makes Direct Pipe ideal for pipe installation under lakes, rivers, highways, levees or other environmentally sensitive areas where traditional trenching techniques (think digging and burying pipe) are not practical.

When utilizing the Direct Pipe method, the entire jobsite infrastructure — including the prefabricated pipeline — is located on one side of the lake, river, highway or other environmentally-sensitive area under which pipe is to be installed. This means that Direct Pipe installation uses less labor and equipment; causes less environmental disruption; and can be implemented in more densely-populated areas. These are important benefits as the worldwide demand for trenchless pipeline installations continues to grow for the oil and gas industry, for freshwater and sewage transportation, for supply and communications lines, and for other such applications.

Other benefits of the Direct Pipe method include the following:

  • It is more effective for difficult subsurface formations than traditional HDD installation;
  • It improves drill site safety;
  • There is no rotating equipment above ground;
  • It can handle gravel and cobblestones up to 1/3 of the size of the Direct Pipe machine;
  • It is ideal for a shore approach and/or outfall pipelines;
  • It releases significantly less bentonite clay into the water;
  • There is no need for marine support until the Direct Pipe machine breaches the seafloor; and
  • Drilling fluids are transported to the head and back by way of umbilical cables.

Laney is the only North American trenchless company providing integrated Engineering, Procurement and Construction trenchless services for HDD and the Direct Pipe method. To date, Laney has executed nearly 2,800 successful crossings in nearly 30 years of business and has completed some of the longest and most challenging HDD crossings across the globe.

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