Drilling finished for Labrador-Island Link

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Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Next step will be to lay cables for power tie-in

Drilling required for the laying of power cables across the Strait of Belle Isle, to ultimately feed energy from the hydroelectric dam at Muskrat Falls to the eastern coast of Newfoundland, has been completed.

“Work is progressing well on all components of the Muskrat Falls project and the early and safe completion of the drilling work for the Strait of Belle Isle marine cable crossing is another significant milestone for the project,” said Gilbert Bennett, a vice-president with Nalcor Energy and lead on the Lower Churchill project, in a statement.

The sixth and final bore hole required for the 35-kilometre marine cable crossing was completed Thursday. The bore holes reach down into the shore and then run out, allowing the power cables the protection of ground, until they open out into the deepwater.

The holes run out 2,000 metres from shore on the Newfoundland side of the Strait and 1,200 metres on the Labrador side.

They were completed using a horizontal directional drilling rig provided by Direct Horizontal Drilling and additional services from Baker Hughes.

“The marine crossing project wells pushed the technical limits as it relates to directional drilling and well bore positioning. Accuracy was essential,” said Darren Drake, operations director for drilling services with Baker Hughes.

“Our locally hired Newfoundland and Labrador drilling crews proved themselves this past winter season, dealing with complex down-hole conditions and extreme weather,” said Lon Briscoe, president of Direct Horizontal Drilling, in the same Nalcor statement.

“We look forward to completing the next phase of the project safely and on budget.”

The companies will now move on to installing transitional casing on the seafloor, where the cables come out, at a depth of 70 metres.

These cable conduits are scheduled to be finished by late 2014, before being inspected using a remotely operated vehicle.

Then, a cable-laying ship will be used to lay the three cables of the link across the seafloor, with another vessel covering each connection with rock for protection.

The entire project is scheduled to be finished in late 2016.

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Nalcor Energy

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Labrador-Island

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