Syncrude UE-1 Expansion




Syncrude Canada


Reinforced Concrete Pipe


Fort McMurray


Process Lines, Gravity Sewers, Electrical Ducts, Pipe Racks

Geotechnical Condition


Neptune Coring partnered with Akkerman Inc., to install a deep sewer line 72” in outside diameter and 1600 feet long for Syncrude Canada’s UE-1 expansion project at it’s oilsands plant in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  The project involved more than thirty crossings, with some having less than 6” of clearance, and depths ranging from 20 – 30 feet.  These conditions made using open cut methods expensive and risky, which is where the trenchless methodology of microtunneling was offered up as the solution.  Akkerman’s 22ft long SL72 Microtunnel Boring Machine (MTBM) complete with a modified MT 890 jacking frame was used to jack the concrete reinforced pipe provided by Lafarge Canada.  The reinforced concrete bell and spigot was designed and manufactured to ASTM C76 Class V standards and many other features.  The tunneling was handled in five drives, 530ft, 420ft, 270ft, 255ft, and 125ft, and was completed by starting in the middle and going uphill first, then finishing off going downhill.  After completion the survey was completed and all drives were completed within a one-quarter of and inch of target on all five drives.  The installation was accurate, and pipe joints met expectations, and for Syncrude, it provided enormous cost savings and minimal plant disruption.