CH2M has announced the creation of the first natural infrastructure project in partnership with Shell Pipeline Company LP along the Ship Shoal corridor in Blue Hammock Bayou.
This innovative new project was designed to enhance pipeline integrity and safety, reduce infrastructure costs and protect and preserve the environment, said the company in its release.
Blue Hammock Bayou sits on the Louisiana coast, where the Ship Shoal Pipeline, a joint venture operated by Shell, runs 31-miles to deliver on average 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day from deep-water assets in the Gulf of Mexico to Louisiana.
Due to natural erosive forces in Blue Hammock Bayou, the pipeline faces many challenges, said CH2M.
To mitigate these challenges, Shell collaborated with CH2M to create a non-traditional approach that would add positive impacts to the coastal ecosystem.
The pilot project began by conducting an analysis on the coastal environment.
The next step involved designing a solution that included installation of vegetation and sediment-filled erosion baskets, coir logs filled with rock and coconut fibers, as well as sediment compaction and revegetation with robust clonal species adapted to depth and energy forces.
In a collaborative effort supported by CH2M scientists and coastal engineers, and Shell, ongoing monitoring and assessments of the Blue Hammock Bayou are being conducted. The findings indicate that the natural infrastructure approach is already performing beyond expectations, with strong plant growth and accumulation – rather than erosion – of sediments.
The sustainable solution is protective of the pipeline, has helped stabilize the marsh, and has greatly enhanced the natural habitat.