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where some see challenges

We see the route to success

WSP's laser-focused surveying services are ensuring TransCanada’s Northern Courier Pipeline stays on track—to centimetre accuracy.

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Northern Courier Pipeline

90 Approximate length of the bitumen and diluent pipelines
3 of Polyurethane foam for insulation
140 operating temperature of the pipeline
9930 operating pressure
6 years of planning and construction
1 total budget
2195 length of the north american record for a horizontal directional drill
108575 man hours to date
12304 driven per month

See how timely and accurate surveying processes are enabling large work crews to work as one coordinated, highly effective team.

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Project Slideshow

Get a behind the scenes look at the Northern Courier Pipeline

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Side booms lowering 12” diluent pipe into the trench.

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Diesel heaters warm the 24” pipe to above 100 Celsius while lowering in and backfilling sections of pipe.

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A series of side booms work in tandem while lowering in sections of 24” insulated pipe.

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Side booms prepare to join two sections of pre-welded pipe.

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Once lowered into the ditch, large heaters continue to keep the insulated pipe at high temperature during the backfilling operation. While at high temperature, the expanded pipe mimics the conditions when heated bitumen is flowing through the pipe. The backfill will lock the pipe in place after the heat is removed.

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Two 24" joints of pipe welded together. Once X-ray and/or Ultrasound testing is complete, the sleeve will be pulled over the weld, sealing the insulation between the pipes.

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Backhoes equipped with GPS prepare to dig the ditch for the next section of pipe. An engineered ditch design is programmed into the backhoe to assist the operator with maintaining ground cover and pipe design tolerances.

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After lowering in a section of pipe, crews wait while the pipe is brought to operating temperature. Any slack in the pipe is removed before backfilling.

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Crews coordinate the lowering in of the 12” and 24” pipes.

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The flexibility of the steel in the 12” pipe allows the pipe to follow gradual turns and changes in elevation without the need for field bent pipe.

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Bag weights are placed on the pipe for buoyancy control in wet areas.

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A close capture of 24” pipeline weld.

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Backhoes backfill the 24” pipe. Much of the route is through muskeg and can only be constructed in the winter months when the ground is frozen.

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The flexibility of the steel in the 24” pipe allows the pipe to be lowered in a continuous stream. Once lowered in survey crews log coordinates for every weld along the pipe.

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Inspectors are diligent in certain areas with rocks in the soil. While “Shading the pipe” they look to ensure no large rocks dent the protective insulation in the backfill process.

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Backhoes fill the trench while dozers level off the backfill in the distance.

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Several backhoes work in tandem during the backfill process.

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Backhoes work until sundown to ensure the pipe is covered before heat is removed from the pipe.

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A series of side booms orchestrate the lowering of the 24” pipe.

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Rollers on the ends of the side boom allow the machines to move in tandem while lowering in large sections.

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In certain areas, the 12” and 24” pipes are lowered in and backfilled in a common ditch.

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