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Ciria plans guidance to offer horizontal directional drilling best practice

Increases in the number of offshore projects has led construction industry research organisation Ciria to identify a need for guidance for the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) sector.

According to Ciria, current guidance is a mixture of international sources and accepted techniques have evolved through field experience rather than engineering principles.

The organisation has said the proposed new guidance would draw together the best industry standards and practices in design and construction, identify the range of techniques available and their limitations and issues that need to be addressed during design and construction.

Ciria first proposed such guidance in 2009 following a presentation by Black and Veatch’s Emma Booth and Raymond Coe on the subject at the Geotechnical issues in construction conference. Impact of the recession on the UK geotechnics market meant that Ciria did not attract enough industry funding to undertake the project but Ciria has said that it has recently be contacted by offshore consultant Cathie Associates which wants to take the proposal forward.

A statement from Ciria has suggested that the need for the guidance has increased since the initial proposal in 2009. “Recurring issues in the deployment of HDD, particularly in offshore wind, demonstrate a lack of understanding and planning for HDD,” said Ciria.

“Current guidance tends to be directed towards construction issues and selection of plant. There is a lack of guidance on design aspects and the circumstances in which HDD may or may not be suitable. A best practice guide will need to cover all aspects of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining and decommissioning an HDD installation.

“Current guidance is entirely focussed on the application of HDD techniques in a strict onshore context. The Ciria best practice guidance will provide both nearshore/coastal and onshore context to the successful application of HDD.”

The proposed Ciria guidance would cover planning, detailed design and construction phases. Ciria is seeking project funders and support from industry specialists to take the project forward.

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