Work set to begin on drill pad in Shoal Cove
Work on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project is steadily underway, and evidence of that will soon be seen on the Northern Peninsula.
© Adam Randell photo
The Lower Churchill Project will soon make its presence felt on the Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador. The construction of two drill pads is set to begin. This marker identifies where the pad will be constructed in Shoal Cove.
Orange markers that tapper to the edge of Shoal Cove shores, pointing towards Forteau, will be transformed into a drill pad in the coming months.
Gilbert Bennett, Nalcor’s vice president for the Lower Churchill Project, said it’s a part of the Horizontal directional drill program taking place.
It’s the technique that will protect the cable across the Strait of Belle Isle.
Bennett described the process as, “to drill out from the shore on either side, and then basically drill out three shafts – two cables and one spare – in preparation of placing the cable in 2016.”
He said civil contractors, C&T Enterprises, in Forteau, has been awarded the contract and will get the site ready to make sure the pad in Shoal Cove is established, so drilling can commence later this year.
“It will look a lot like the work we’d previously done in the straits in 2011, where we did a test drill exercise,” he said.
Bennett expects the work will take a few months to complete. From there a drill pad will be prepared in Forteau, which also requires the construction of an access road.
He said the two locations were chosen for a couple of prime reasons. The straits water depth, rock conditions and how quickly deep water can be reached provide the areas as the best location during the environmental assessment survey.
“This work is going to plan, we are pretty happy with the way things are unfolding, we are pleased with the contractors we have on board,” he said. “The scope of this work, while it’s not huge, I think will see some significant opportunities for communities and businesses on both sides of the Straits.”
With drilling, cable laying and transmission line construction still to come, Bennett said contracts of considerable size are looking promising for the area.
“We look forward to seeing employment for the area which we are confident is going to happen,” he said. “Secondly there are business opportunities from business suppliers to gas stations and B&B operators.”