The Port Campbell to Adelaide high-pressure natural gas pipeline owned by South East Australia Gas reached a major milestone on 1 January 2014, marking the tenth anniversary since it started gas flows amid challenging circumstances.
South East Australia (SEA) Gas staff and their partners celebrated the occasion in the Crystal Room of the Stamford Plaza Hotel along with senior representatives of the owners of SEA Gas and the South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis.
Commissioning of the pipeline had already begun when an explosion at Santos’ Moomba Gas Processing Facility in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2004 severely restricted gas supply for South Australia.
SEA Gas immediately fast tracked its commissioning requirements to ensure enough gas could be supplied to Adelaide to cover much of the shortfall the same day of the explosion.
SEA Gas General Manager Ashley Kellett said the relatively smooth switch over to the SEA Gas Pipeline meant few people realised how close SA businesses and residents came to being without gas supplies for several weeks.
“The timing was very fortunate – from the phone call in the early hours of New Year’s Day, we were able to quickly provide gas supplies to about 80 per cent of the SA market,” Mr Kellett said.
“There had been only one source of gas supply to SA for the previous 34 years. If the pipeline hadn’t been in place, many factories and businesses in Adelaide wouldn’t have been able to return to operations post the holiday period.”
Mr Kellett said the project was one of Australia’s most important energy infrastructure projects at the time, and it clearly demonstrated from the first day of operations that it would increase security of future gas supplies. The addition of the pipeline has also created a more competitive gas market for south-eastern Australia.
“The $500 million, 690 km open-access pipeline completed the south-eastern Australia gas transmission grid linking Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide with gas supplies from fields in the Cooper-Eromanga Basin and offshore Victoria,” he said.
“SEA Gas now safely and reliably transports approximately 55 per cent of SA’s gas requirements and the majority of the gas requirements of the Adelaide market. This represents about 60 petajoules of gas annually and, on an average day, SEA Gas transports enough gas to supply approximately 5,500 average SA households for a full year. However, the majority of the gas transported is used in SA gas-fired power stations.
“We started off supporting the state’s economy on day one and we have continued to do so now for ten years,” Mr Kellett said.
Work began on constructing the SEA Gas Pipeline by engineering, procurement and construction contractor Spiecapag-Lucas Joint Venture in October 2002 and fast-track construction saw the project completed in a little over 12 months. Since that time a number of off-takes have been built to transport gas to rural industries and in 2009 the pipeline was connected to the Origin Energy-owned Quarantine Power Station as part of that station’s major expansion.
The pipeline still represents the latest in world-class pipe technology, engineering standards and operating systems. Its operating system allows customers to place their nominations for gas supply electronically and real-time predictive flow modelling is used to determine the set-ups for the pipeline and its compressor stations.
All pipeline operating systems are operated remotely from a centrally located control centre in the Adelaide central business district.
SEA Gas is jointly owned by APA Group and Retail Employees Superannuation Trust in a partnership arrangement.