Marking Muskrat

Adam Randell
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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.

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.”

Geographic location: Shoal Cove, Forteau

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  • david
    December 07, 2013 - 10:35

    Everyone has an ego. And even if they aren't as easy to observe in action as a politician's, engineers have them too. That Mr. Bennett has been seconded into the role of PR delivery boy and talking head for the government --- because no one IN government has the first clue of how to address anything technical or financial on the issue without cue cards --- is a damning twist in this whole debacle. He must view the construction of this enormous endeavour as his own eventual legacy as an engineer, a crowning achievement. And that's fair enough....except for the fact that whether it ever makes economic sense is not his problem. He is quite motivated to see this through, regardless. In that way, he is a more dangerous actor than the government. His credentials and past experience lend him significant credibility, even as we step into completely uncharted waters. His growing 'celebrity' (and don't kid yourself...in this little province, heads can swell up over the most obscure amount of attention) has the power to further infect any remaining objectivity he might have. In short, while everyone hammers Dunderdale, it is Mr. Bennett that should be questioned and challenged as he's the one in charge. And with any change of government, even moreso.

  • John Smith
    September 25, 2013 - 07:22

    Tapper? Maybe you mean taper? Anyway, congrats to Nalcor, another milestone on time and on budget....

    • NL Taxpayer
      October 21, 2013 - 15:02

      John Smith You are a shill for government, aren't you? I keep seeing your comments and I have no doubt you are paid to say the things you say. No one with a working brain could possible have opinions such as yours. Go collect your check at the Confederation Building, shill.

  • Hope
    September 24, 2013 - 13:13

    This shouldn't be aloud. This is destroying the environment and wild lives homes. This is wrong! And they are putting money into this project when they should be putting it in to making newfoundland a better place and a more stable province! Not destroying the planet for a power source newfoundland doesn't really need!