Crossing with Care - Major HDD crossings on the TAP project
Proceedings Publication Date
Denis Pellerin
Denis Pellerin, Erhard Kracht
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The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is an 878 km, 48 in. (1200 mm) dia. pipeline designed to deliver Caspian natural gas to the European market. It interconnects with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, and travels over northern Greece for 550 km, southern Albania for 215 km and the Adriatic Sea to land in southern Italy.

Onshore pipeline construction in Greece was awarded to Spiecapag (Lot 1) and to a consortium Bonatti–J&P Avax (Lots 2 and 3). The Albanian section was awarded to Spiecapag (Lots 4 and 5). Both main contractors have selected Horizontal Drilling International (HDI) to perform the Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) crossings of the major rivers.

The HDD scope includes a total of 13 crossings; two in Albania, ten in Greece and one underneath the Greek-Turkish border. Each crossing requires the installation of a dia. 48 in. product pipe with a parallel 6 in. fiber optic casing (FOC) installed in a separate and parallel hole.

Starting in October 2016 in Albania, the HDD works were carried out continuously until completion on July 2018. HDI teams operated up to three separate spreads, including one 400 t spread and one 500 t Pipe Thruster. They encountered complex ground conditions on certain crossings and challenging logistics on others. They applied best industry practices, including additionnal geophysical investigations, and in-house expertise in order to successfully install the 1820 m, 48 in. pipeline section underneath the Axios River, which is the longest 48 in. pipeline crossing ever installed by HDD to date.

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