Key Civil Construction Considerations for Oil and Gas Facilities

December 19, 2016

Oil and gas facilities play a crucial role in our nation’s economy, provide fuel and electrical power, and create the ingredients for countless petroleum-based products. With such a vital role to play, it is essential that oil and gas facilities operate at maximum productivity and safety levels. While high quality maintenance, fabrication, and industrial services are all crucial for oil and gas facilities to operate at peak levels, it is also fundamental that they built according to the highest civil construction standards. Let’s take a look at some key civil construction considerations for oil and gas facilities.

Civil Work for Oil and Gas Facilities

There are many important aspects of high quality civil construction for oil and gas facilities. Some core types of civil work include the following:

Subgrade Stabilization – Before work can begin on the facility subgrade stabilization must be performed to ensure that the ground beneath the eventual facility will not sink or shift, which could cause dangerous, expensive, and difficult- to-repair damage to a completed oil and gas facility. Subgrade stabilization is also important for ensuring the safety of the worksite while construction is underway.

Site Improvement and Prep – Prior to the actual construction of an oil or gas facility, the construction zone will also need to undergo site improvement and other preparation efforts. This usually consists of removing unwanted trees, shrubs, vegetation, rocks, or any other debris that may be in the way. The work area will also likely need to undergo excavation as well as erosion control measures like shoring and to protect the worksite from rain, wind, and other environmental threats during construction.

Deep Foundations and Piling – Deep foundations and piling are one of the most important factors in creating a strong, stable foundation for the eventual oil and gas facility. Piling should be selected based on the soil type, load bearing requirements, and other factors individual to the project such as budget, timeline, and availability of resources. Driving the piles to the correct depth and with the right equipment and skill is also crucial.

Concrete – Concrete is a major part of nearly all industrial and civil construction projects and that is certainly true for oil and gas facilities. Organizations like the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and ASTM International set quality standards to ensure that the concrete is safe and reliable.

Project Factors for Civil Construction of Oil and Gas Facilities

The general factors listed above are key considerations for all civil construction projects of oil and and gas facilities. However, additional considerations are likely to apply based on the particulars of a given project. Some of these additional project-specific factors include the following:

Facility Size and Production Considerations – The size of the oil or gas facility as well as its intended production capacity will play a significant role in its construction. Larger facilities will naturally need more materials to build than smaller facilities. Larger facilities may also require more units of equipment to complete or may require larger equipment that can handle larger, heavier materials. More manpower is also likely to be needed for larger facilities and construction costs and project timelines may rise.

Budgetary Factors – Different civil construction projects will have different budgets. If a company is working on a more limited budget, it may need to limit or avoid overtime and labor expenditures, choose less expensive materials, or use older equipment. By contrast a project with a large budget may be able to get the facility completed much more quickly by increasing manhours and using state-of-the-art equipment.

Timeline for Completion – Some oil and gas facilities may need to be completed and brought online right away while others may have a little more leeway. The project’s timeline will of course have and significant effect on the decisions made during the construction phase.

Geographic Location – Different geographic regions of the country or world face very different geographic challenges that will in turn affect construction differently. For example deep foundation work on a construction site with soft, wet soil is very different than foundation work for worksites with dry, rocky soil. Likewise, different regions face different environmental factors and work may need to be halted during severe weather. The facility itself may also need to be up to different codes and standards if it is more or less prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes.

Access Considerations – Similar to geographic location, the new facility’s access to pipelines, highways, railways, or waterways will factor heavily into construction. If the facility will be using multiple modes of transport it will need to be built accordingly. Likewise, more remote facilities may also face construction delays due to challenges associated with getting the materials, workers, and equipment onsite.

Ensuring Regulatory Compliance for the Facility

The oil and gas industry is very heavily regulated. Facilities are required to comply with regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Additionally individual states and municipalities may have their own regulations in place. Such regulations, both federal and local, are also potentially subject to change over time. That makes it crucial for the civil construction company to be aware of these regulations and to build to the highest standards so that the facility is not only compliant but can remain compliant for a long time to come

A Civil Construction Company That Can Be Counted On

STI Group has the experience, industry knowledge, resources, and dedication that it takes to consistently deliver outstanding civil construction services for oil and gas facilities. We have over 35 years of experience in the oil and gas sector and are dedicated to delivering nothing but the best results for our clients. We work closely with clients to ensure that all project needs are met reliably and according to all specifications.