The Elk Hills Field in Kern County is one of the United States’ largest natural gas and oil producing fields. This project called for a new Cryogenic Gas Plant and Fractionation Facility to be built on a former pipe storage yard, near existing gas and oil processing facilities. The foundation work was designed to support a variety of structures including pipe racks, vertical vessels, compressor shelters, air coolers, fuel storage tanks and operation control facilities scattered across the 400 x 1,500 foot rectangular site. CFA piles 18 and 24 inches in diameter were chosen for the site due to the sandy subsurface conditions.
A Bauer RTG 23S equipped with a 65-foot auger was used to install all piles. Drill depths ranged from 20 to 60 feet with an average of 35 feet. Every pile received a rebar cage up to 25 feet and in certain areas a full-length center bar was added to increase tension capacity of the pile. The project was divided into two phases. The first phase with 430 piles had wide open access with no obstructions and high production rates. For Phase 2 (617 piles) many separate concrete footings had to be constructed, restricting access for many of the piles and pile production decreased accordingly.