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An old pipeline becomes new

Changes to the east coast gas grid and proposed new pipeline infrastructure in the Northern Territory has meant that one of Australia’s oldest pipeline systems, the Moomba Adelaide Pipeline System, has recently completed works to modernise and make its flow bi-directional.

Owned by QSuper and operated by Epic Energy, the 859 km, 559 mm diameter Moomba Adelaide Pipeline System (MAPS) was commissioned in 1969 and includes 326 km of lateral pipelines.

The changing east coast market presented an opportunity for the MAPS pipeline to be reconfigured to allow bi-directional flow.

Bi-directional work

Epic Energy contracted engineering consultancy and project delivery company LogiCamms to carry out the works in July 2014, with commissioning on the last site completed on 25 June 2015 on budget and three weeks ahead of schedule.

The final engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) scope consisted of two new custody transfer metering stations, a new pipeline connection, and modification to existing ancillary equipment along the pipeline system.

The work was split across a significant number of sites along the MAPS all monitored and controlled by additional key instruments.

Epic Energy Chief Executive Officer Clive D’Cruz says the work will enable the system to provide for its customers in a more proactive manner.

“As the east coast gas market is undergoing a fundamental change, the need to provide flexibility to customers is growing in importance,” said Mr D’Cruz.

“This was the main driver for the MAPS pipeline becoming bi-directional.”

LogiCamms had around 130 employees involved in the works, with a core team of 20 present from start to finish.

Project challenges

The project had to overcome a number of design challenges, namely having two gas supplies into MAPS with different gas compositions, adding odourisation to MAPS, and ensuring that every facility was reconfigured to allow both southern-haul and northern-haul flow.

The control system presented particular challenges, with the team having to interrogate the code to determine how to carry out the modifications to meet the required set-point outputs.

This work was carried out in LogiCamms’ South Australia office by working closely with Epic Energy to overcome the challenges.

The logistics of so many sites spread throughout South Australia was also a challenge, with contractors and engineers from New Zealand, Queensland and South Australia working on two to three different sites on any given week, particularly during the pre-commissioning stage.

In response to these challenges, LogiCamms developed a number of new innovative standard packages to support the works.

A particular challenge was the lack of power at the small waterbath heater sites, where a solar-powered remote ignition system was created, which involved workshop trials to prove the system would work.

Another innovation feature enabled LogiCamms to remove all field fit welds from a number of station modifications with 100 per cent certainty.

This involved recycling the removed pipework that was creating the tie-ins and incorporating it into the new pipework, such that any discrepancies would cancel out.

As a result they fit perfectly the first time with no modifications.

Skidding into place

LogiCamms’ New Zealand office in New Plymouth has a 25-year track record of making packaged equipment for the both Australian and New Zealand projects, and provided the skids for the MAPS works.

At the time of determining the fabrication strategy, LogiCamms decided that the nature of the project, with significant different implementation sites, meant that the work could be broken down into a number of smaller packages and contracted separately throughout New Zealand.

The fabrication scope was split across a number of fabricators to mitigate the risk of relying on one fabricator for what was a schedule critical project, however in the end all suppliers came to the table with successful delivery of scopes.

Logistics for the skids was managed from Logicamms’ Adelaide office, which determined the strategy and directly engaged its partner Ellery Freight to execute the trans-Tasman logistics.

The goods were then shipped throughout South Australia through Jeff Rowe Transport.

Epic Energy, as the client, was focused on ensuring direct access to the team with direct responsibility for delivery of the project and so the Adelaide office connection was of significant importance.

Safety and AS2885

Safety assessments were carried out throughout the project from the first day to the last activity.

These included:

    • Design reviews;


    • Safety management studies;


    • Hazard and operability studies;


    • Hazard identification studies;


    • Layout reviews;


    • Construction risk assessment workshops; and,


  • Special workshops for perceived high risk activities e.g. the first fill of mercaptans (an odorant – a particularly unpleasant substance).

The initial proposal included a risk assessment which was regularly updated throughout the project with Epic Energy’s direct involvement.

The construction safety management plans were prescriptive with the usual permit, take-five and travel management systems.

Commissioning and first gas were controlled through a rigorous handover and quality assurance procedure.

The commitment to safety was aligned between LogiCamms and Epic Energy and the results of zero injuries of any kind was a very rewarding outcome.

The works on MAPS strictly adhered to the AS2885 guidelines, with the Safety Management Process in particular, along with all of the design principals.

LogiCamms is contributing to the code’s further development by being actively involved in the AS2885 Standards Committee.

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