Energy Transfer Rover Meter Stations
By Tyler Protiva, Project Manager
How do you build fifteen grassroots meter stations in a little over a year? Plan, plan, plan. On award of all five groups of the Energy Transfer Rover Pipeline meter stations, our team spent the next several months developing detailed fabrication and construction plans to maximize efficiencies and provide our field installation team as much support as they needed once we mobilized out to the sites.
Rover is a 713 mile pipeline that spans from Pennsylvania to Michigan. It can transport up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays across the US and into Canada. Fifteen gas metering stations are located along the pipeline to meter the gas to the various users of the pipeline.
We began bidding the project during the summer of 2015, and had signed contracts in hand the next summer. It’s not unusual to have a long lag between bidding and award, especially on a project of this magnitude; there were so many moving parts. Another factor that added to this timeline was the permitting that needed to occur before any contractor could begin the project. Given the political climate at the time, the process ended up being slower than anyone anticipated.
While we were awaiting permitting and signed contracts, the planning began. As we were finishing up work on the Renick Compressor Station in May of 2016, our fab and projects team came together to plan the pre-fab of these projects. Our Mechanical Integration Manager, Kalen Wallace, modeled out fabrication pieces to coordinate trucking load-outs for all sites. During this time, we met with all subcontractors to review scopes of work and construction plans, and lined up all rentals. In August of 2016, we began fabricating pipe at our Hubbard shop. The plan was to fabricate by site and store the pieces in our laydown yard until we mobilized to each site.
During the bid phase, the stations were split into five separate groups with enough time built into the schedule to complete the work. As the mobilization date pushed due to the permitting lag, it caused our team and ETC to change our game plan. The groups got condensed into two different phases and the schedules reduced. In theory, each site was the same. In reality, they each had their slight differences.
As the new year and the presidential inauguration commenced, permitting for the pipeline was approved. Within a week of receiving the new that the permit was in hand, we mobilized out to the first station - Madison. It was time to see if the pre-planning had paid off. The fab team held their collective breath as the first fabricated piece was lowered into the ground on site. It fit “like a glove” according to the install team. The planning, coordination and communication between the VEC team was paying off. We were off and running.
The sites that were needed to construct for Phase 1 were: Madison, Seneca, Rex, Berne, Cadiz A and B, Clarington A and B, ANR and PEPL. We had five crews running at once to build these stations. The crews were led by superintendents Kevin Jalbert, Todd Strassburg, Mark Pfaff and Jess Oldroyd. At peak construction, ten crews were on various sites, some moving back and forth between multiple sites to complete the work. And we weren’t the only contractors there.
One of the biggest challenges while on site was coordination. These meter stations were within close proximity to the pipeline, so we were working near the pipeline contractor and their crews.There were also other gas companies involved on the pipeline as well. We were not only coordinating with ETC, but with MarkWest, TransCanada, Rex Energy and Tallgrass, to name a few.
On top of coordination, manpower was also at a premium as well. With pipeline construction occurring, finding reliable manpower proved to be difficult. We relied heavily on our own traveling manpower to round out our crews. Equipment was scarce and third party vendors were extremely busy filling orders. At peak construction, I was fielding close to 100 phone calls a day from the field install teams, subcontractors, vendors and inspectors. Keeping everything straight in my head was definitely a challenge!
Phase 1 was finishing up and we rolled right into Phase 2: Vector, Burgettstown, Majorsville, Sherwood and Columbia. Our crews were led by superintendents Todd Strassburg, Mark Pfaff and Robbie White. We had multiple crews running from West Virginia to Michigan.
There is a saying that preparation and planning prevent poor performance. This project presented unique challenges, quite a bit of coordination and organization, but each station was completed prior to commissioning and in half the time originally estimated.