Nestoil Deploys HDD Technology to Lay NNPC’s Pipelines across Rivers


Ejiofor Alike
Nestoil Limited, a subsidiary of Obijackson Group has deployed horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology to surmount the challenges of terrain and lay gas pipelines across rivers, including the River Niger, for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)’s Obiafu/Obrikom–Oben (OB3) gas pipeline project.

Speaking to journalists recently, the company’s Assistant General Manager (AGM) in charge of Group Business Development, Mr. Simeon Tor-Agbidye, stated that one of the challenges that confronted the company in the execution of Obiafu/Obrikom–Oben (OB3) project, an engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the 64.5km by 48 inches gas pipeline project, was the issue of difficult terrain.

According to him, the scope of NNPC’s OB3 project was actually split between Nestoil, a subsidiary of Obijackson Group and Oilserv.
Tor-Agbidye stated that while Nestoil is coming from the West, Oilserv is coming from the East.
“One of the major achievements we have accomplished on this project is being able to surmount the challenges of the terrain. Coming from the West, we had some of the most difficult terrain crossing several rivers.

We have crossed these rivers successfully with the innovative horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology with our client, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Our subsidiary, NestHak HDD Limited is an expert in the technology and only company in Nigeria that has 100 per cent success in the job. Few days ago we completed the crossing of the Ashe River, and currently we are looking to the crossing of the River Niger.

We will drill under the River Niger and pull a pipe through so that it doesn’t lie on the water and constitute hazard to shipping and other users of the river. We will lay pipes under the River Niger. It is almost two kilometers (2000 metres). It looks small but the way it is done is not an easy feat,” he explained.
Explaining how HDD technology works, he said: “Firstly, you drill a small hole all the way underneath the river to other side”.

“Then you start going through slow and gradual process called under-rimming that is expanding the hole. So you can imagine, ultimately, the hole is going to be five feet of hole all the way underneath the river. Imagine the weight, it is called over-burden, everything resting on the hole which is five feet tall, that is the challenges we dealt with. Our company NestHak recorded 100 per cent success in this project,” he added.
On the steel technology adopted on the project, he stated that “we drill with steel pipe but there is no pipe supporting that hole”.

“That hole is supported by the fluid we used which is a composition of chemical which helps to strengthen the wall, the pressure holds the wall until we are ready to pull through the pipeline. There is no need for any company to give pipeline contract to foreign company today because we can do everything on pipeline. There are other dimensions to this, laying pipelines on land is different from laying pipelines in the swamp and also different from laying pipelines in deep offshore, still we have the capacity in Nigeria today to do all that,” he explained.

Tor-Agbidye, stated that another subsidiary of the Obijackson Group – Energy Works Technology Limited, is fabricating part of the topside facilities of Total’s Egina floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

“We have completed scope for that project and a few weeks ago, we had a sail off for the Oil Loading Terminal (OLT) piles for the project. We sailed them off to South Korea where they will be integrated on the FPSO. We have finished that. We are at the final stages of completing K2s pipeline for Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). We are also progressing smoothly with the pipeline. The project is an engineering, procurement and construction contact for the 40kmx20 inches export pipeline to re-route Kolo Creek gas to Soku Gas Plant,” he added.