Originating from the UK, Charles Stockton has been working within the international trenchless industry since 1992, starting out his career working as part of the first horizontal directional drilling (HDD) crew in the UK.
Since the early days of Trenchless Technology, Mr Stockton has witnessed a rapid growth in processes and practices within the industry and now, more than ever, says there is a strong need to develop a code of practice/guidance document for the planning and execution of HDD projects in Australasia.
“I feel that we, as an industry, need to increase the quality, reliability and performance of HDD services in Australia.
“Our industry continues to expand, at all levels, and there should be a means to standardise performance and ensure product delivery,” Mr Stockton said.
Mr Stockton said to provide pipeline owners, engineers and contractors with a valid and recognised set of guidelines would greatly enhance industry performance, reduce construction risk factors and ensure the best practices are always employed.
“It would help bring Australian construction practices to the forefront of the world stage and would provide the fabric for the development of HDD quality assurance and quality control.
“Every other part of pipeline construction is regulated but often the most challenging part of the works, the HDD methods, is left without independent inspection and verification,” he said.
Looking to the future, Stockton Drilling Services are aiming to help facilitate both the pipeline and trenchless industry by working together to develop a code of practice/guidance document for the planning and execution of HDD projects across Australasia.
“Over the last few years we have been involved in a number of large oil and gas projects and we are now applying the same rigorous designs and standards developed for the oil and gas sector to the utilities industry,” Mr Stockton said.
The company has also recently expanded their trenchless pipeline consulting capabilities to include a mapping services system that applies state-of-the-art inertia gyro. The inertia gyro provides the first autonomous system to be able to check and verify a bores exact position both during drilling and also after pipeline installation.
Mr Stockton said new technology was key to driving growth within the industry.
“We shouldn’t be resting on what we have achieved in the past, we need to continue be innovative and ensure the industry achieves the best outcomes possible,” he said.