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Remote Transmission Line Brings Power to Piceance Basin

A leading midstream energy services provider acquired a new natural gas gathering pipeline in the Piceance Basin gas region of northwest Colorado. Expansion plans included a new gas treating and processing complex which is capable of processing up to 1.50 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. A new 345kV transmission line would ultimately deliver power from this gas processing facility to a new substation where it would be transformed to 138kV. From there, several 138kV lines would serve the plant as well as other plants in the Piceance Basin.

Problem

The most challenging aspect of this project was operating under an extremely unforgiving time frame with a very expansive scope of work that involved layers of coordination with the client and the manufacturing and construction contractors. While this was in many ways a standard transmission line design, albeit a large high voltage one, a very unforgiving schedule for construction completion was the make or break factor in project success.

Approach

ESC developed an airtight project schedule with no cookbook designs or room for error. To alleviate any procurement or construction-related mistakes that could potentially domino and wreak havoc with the project deadline, a check-off system was created to track product procurement and delivery, construction scheduling, and quality assurance. A detailed cost estimate was also developed very early in the project which was bid and constructed during a time of dynamic pricing variation when the entire industry was under great demand stress. Despite this pricing volatility, initial and subsequent project cost estimates proved to be deliverable.

Result

Completing a major high voltage transmission line from design through construction in just under two years is an impressive accomplishment. Regardless of a short time fuse to design and construct the transmission line, ESC came in on schedule and under budget. Initial design work with aerial surveying started in the spring of 2007; the majority of the design work was completed by summer’s end 2007; steel poles were ordered in late 2007; equipment delivery and construction began in April 2008; and the transmission line was completed and energized in November 2008.