Heavy Equipment for Pipeline Construction

Heavy Equipment for Pipeline Construction

Oil and gas pipeline construction is a challenging process. The work typically takes place in remote areas, creating the need for an extensive supply line. Inclement weather is often a factor and can put the work behind schedule, resulting in costly overruns. Effective, adaptable planning and project management practices are crucial for keeping the job on track. 

Heavy equipment plays a vital role in virtually every project stage. It's important to choose high-quality products that can withstand the rigors of the job and continue to perform in these demanding conditions. For many pipeline contractors, renting often provides the most practical and cost-effective solution for getting machines to the staging area and on-site as quickly as possible.

What Equipment Is Used in Pipeline Construction?

The types of heavy equipment required for pipeline construction vary depending on the project's stage. 

Clearing the Right-of-Way

You'll probably encounter groves of trees and other obstacles along the pipeline's right-of-way (ROW). The right forestry equipment can help you chop down and haul away trees and cut through brush and undergrowth. Examples of the equipment required for accomplishing these tasks include feller bunchers, forest machines, forwarders, brush chippers, tree spades and stump grinders.


Virtually every phase of a pipeline project requires dependable, hardworking earthmoving machines to perform essential tasks like loading and hauling dirt, excavating and preparing the site. You will likely need a wide range of equipment, including bulldozers, excavators, backhoe loaders and wheel loaders. 

Pipeline sites also require access roads to enable equipment to travel between the staging area and the ROW. Since these roadways are temporary and don't require paving, earthmoving machines can handle most of the work. 

Material Handling

These hectic work areas require transporting, lifting and loading a wide assortment of materials, tools and equipment from one place to another. High-performing machines like rough-terrain forklifts and material handlers can move these resources quickly, efficiently and safely.


Digging the trench that will hold the pipeline is one of the most crucial project steps. High-capacity excavators can handle much of the heavy digging process. After completing the excavation for a specific section, you'll need to install trench shoring equipment to protect workers from accidental cave-ins or collapses.


Pipelayers are machines specifically designed to lift and position the piping. They consist of a tractorlike base and a side-mounted boom that maneuvers the pipe into place. Pipelayers are available in multiple lift capacities, typically ranging from 40,000 to more than 200,000 pounds. The booms come in various lengths to enable project managers to match machines with job site specifications.


A pipeline typically consists of 40-foot sections that workers transport to the side of the trench for assembly. It's often necessary to bend some individual pipe sections to enable the completed pipeline to follow the intended route and overcome obstacles in the terrain. Portable welders and towable welders are essential for enjoining the sections within the trench. The latter offers the additional benefit of easy mobility when transporting them to, from and around the location. 

Compressed Air Delivery

Reliable compressed air equipment is a staple at most of these sites. Pipeline construction requires various pneumatically powered tools like drills and chipping hammers to break up rocks and other solid materials in the ROW. Portable air compressors are also necessary to deliver the power to this equipment. 


Some portions of a pipeline project may occur at night or in areas or conditions with poor visibility. Portable light towers can provide effective illumination in targeted areas to enhance productivity and contribute to a safer job site. These machines are also towable, enabling workers to place them in the ideal locations.


Electrical power is necessary throughout a pipeline construction site, especially in areas with limited or no access to the grid. Towable or trailer-mounted natural gas or diesel generators can fill the void by delivering electricity where it's needed the most. They can also reduce the risk of costly project delays resulting from unexpected power outages. 

The Cat® Rental Store Has Everything You Need

No matter what types of heavy equipment for pipeline construction you require, you'll find it at The Cat® Rental Store in your area. Our extensive inventory features products from Caterpillar and more than 70 other leading manufacturers, ensuring reliable quality and performance. We also support every rental with top-notch customer service, including expert product selection assistance, flexible terms, on-site repairs and more.

Check out our pipeline construction equipment lineup today. You can also call us at 1-800-RENT-CAT or contact us online for more information and a fast quote.

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