CBC Pipeline: At The Heart, And Arteries, Of Ohio’s Energy Infrastructure

Since entering the Ohio market less than three years ago,CBC Pipelinehas laid several hundred miles of fuel and natural gas pipelines. Operating in the Cadiz area, where energy companies are tapping into theUtica Shale, the company provides full-service installation of pipeline systems, as well as other services for major, energy-market players—including MarkWest and Chesapeake Energy.

The company has about 350 employees working on a variety of projects in the area, according to Project Coordinator Gavin Caskey. Recent projects include installing 6-plus miles of 6-inch fuel gas pipeline and 12-inch NGL pipeline from Hopedale to Cadiz for MarkWest Utica EMG, LLC.; and installing 8.4 miles of 12-inch NGL pipeline, from Majorsville to Hopedale, for Liberty Midstream.

As a full-service company, CBC does everything “from start to finish,” Caskey noted. This includes horizontal directional drilling and installing compressor, meter, pump and regulator stations. While CBC can clear land, the company frequently subcontracts out that time-consuming aspect of the work. Pipeline rights-of-way are 100 feet wide for the entire length of the project, with wider areas needed at places such as stream crossings and road access points.

The various projects present a variety of challenges. One of the biggest is deadlines, Caskey noted. “Every project we’re involved in has a pretty tight deadline, usually a 60-day turnaround.” During testing or horizontal drilling, those deadlines can mean running crews 24/7.

The terrain presents another challenge, as most pipelines must be installed at least 4 feet deep. Rows have to be graded, and the pipeline strung and welded. The inspection processes for the pipeline are extremely stringent, looking at everything from the welds to the positioning and settling of the pipe. The pipe itself is handled very carefully to ensure the outer protective coating isn’t damaged during transit or installation. The heavy steel pipe rests on skid cradles before being laid—it is not permitted to touch the ground—and the dirt used to cover it is pulverized so it does not damage the coating.

“There are different circumstances to every line, but I’d say laying 8 or 9 miles in two months is not uncommon,” Caskey observed. With the varying needs of different projects, CBC Pipeline maintains a large fleet of equipment.

The machinery required can change with the project and terrain. That’s one reason CBC partnered withColumbus Equipment Companywhen it arrived inCadiz. “We’ve been a Columbus Equipment customer ever since we arrived in the region. Some of our very first excavators were from Columbus Equipment,” Caskey said. “The availability on everything was the reason we first went with them.”

CBC “started out doing a lot ofrental businesswith us,” saidPaul Stevens, sales repfor theCanton branchof Columbus Equipment. “They’ve rented a lot of excavators and dozers, and they transferred some of that to sales.”

Among the equipment CBC has converted from rental to purchase are threeKomatsu PC360 excavators, twoPC200sand someD65 dozers. The contractor also purchased aMorooka track hauler and a hydraulic hammer. “We use the 360s to dig ditches, lower the pipe and clear right-of-way. The 200s are used primarily to operate support equipment, such as hammers. They are also good for support with the horizontal drilling rig,” Caskey noted. “We use the dozers when we have to have a track to go down a hill and similar situations.”

Whether rented or purchased, the Komatsu equipment is dependable, he added. “Everything works great. The equipment availability is really good, the pricing is competitive and all the equipment is kept in excellent shape. We’ve had no issues with down time, and that’s key given the tight schedules we face.”

Working with the service department at Columbus Equipment has been a breeze, he said. “They take care of the service on their equipment, and we signed an agreement with them for service on the dozers we converted over. They work with our master mechanic in scheduling work and get it done in a reasonable time.”

“While the company owns a variety of machines, the operators really like the PC360, which outperforms competing brands,” Caskey noted. “Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, but Komatsu equipment holds up better than others, in my opinion.”

CBC Pipeline’s experience with Komatsu equipment was the topic of high-level discussions recently. Nob Sato, president ofKomatsu America, Yoshinori Komamura, senior adviser toKomatsu Ltd., and other executives came to eastern Ohio to find out what pipeline contractors are looking for in equipment. The executives, CBC officials, and representatives from Columbus Equipment met and talked.

“I consider it an honor to have been chosen to meet with them,” Caskey said. “They paid really close attention to everything we talked about. They asked what they could do to improve their equipment and what pipeline needs are, as far as equipment goes.” Caskey discussed support equipment needs, including the value of side booms (pipe layers) when laying pipe.

Despite its considerable size and prominent role in the Utica Shale, CBC remains very much a family business. CBC Pipeline was established in 2003 by CBC Services, a Louisiana company founded by three brothers with extensive experience in the gas and oil industries. Two of the founding brothers—Greg and Delton Caskey—oversee operations in Ohio, while the third brother, Jeff, runs the Louisiana offices. Gavin is Greg’s son. In addition to Gavin’s brother, Keith, several cousins also work for the company.

CBC is likely to be in Ohio for a while, as activity in the Utica Shale is expected to last for at least five more years, Caskey noted. “They are putting lines in everywhere. There are quite a few pipeline companies out there, but as much work as there is, it’s not hard to get a job right now.”

While the work is plentiful, CBC Pipeline’s experience and expertise—coupled with the right equipment—play a key role as the company continues to take on new projects in the area.

Contactyour Columbus Equipment Company sales rep today for more information.

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