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Victoria’s productive pipelines

Millions of Victorian residents use natural gas each day, unaware of the well-established pipeline network that steadily supplies them. The Australian Pipeliner reviews existing transmission pipelines and tracks the exciting progress of current projects to give due credit to the incredible web of infrastructure which has been developed through the years.

Existing infrastructure

In March 1969, natural gas from the Bass Strait gas fields was introduced to Melbourne for the first time via the 174.2 km, 750 mm diameter Longford to Dandenong Pipeline. The API 5L Grade X60 steel pipeline connects Esso’s Longford gas processing plant in Gippsland to the Dandenong terminal station.

The pipeline, which is currently owned and operated by APA Group subsidiary GasNet Australia, has undergone three stages of looping: 30 km between Tyers and Rosedale, 34 km between Rosedale and Longford, and an additional 18.7 km in the Bunyip area, with all looped sections constructed from 750 mm diameter pipe.

Unprocessed LPG and stabilised crude oil is transported from Esso’s Longford plant via the company’s 185km, 711mm diameter Longford to Long Island Pipeline, which was completed and commissioned in 1969. After being delivered from the offshore Bass Strait Basin to the Longford processing facility, the product continues its journey from the plant to Long Island Point, 75 km south-east of Melbourne, where it is distributed to Victoria’s two refineries in Geelong and Altona, Melbourne.

The pipeline is made from X52 DSAW steel, and has wall thicknesses of 9.52, 11.53 and 12.7 mm. The pipeline is coated with coal tar enamel (CTE) and a Raychem hot clad heat-applied wrap. Every two years it is intelligently pigged with the next due in 2012.

From Esso’s Long Island Point plant, a 78 km, 254 mm diameter pipeline extends to Altona to deliver ethane to a number of chemical businesses operating in west Melbourne. The Long Island to Altona Ethane Pipeline, which was completed and commissioned in 1972, traverses Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay and is owned and operated by Esso.

Constructed from X52 SMLS grade steel and coated with a concrete weight coating (CWC) and CTE, the pipeline comprises of a 50km onshore section and a 28 km offshore section, which have wall thicknesses of 6.35 mm and 9.27 mm respectively. It is on a five-yearly intelligent pigging schedule and is next scheduled to be pigged in 2014.

Also commissioned in 1972, the 135.3km, 400 and 600 mm diameter Western Port – Altona – Geelong (WAG) Pipeline transfers liquids from the Western Port terminal in Hastings to refineries in Altona and West Footscray. It is intelligently pigged once every 4-5 years. For more detailed information about this pipeline, see page 122.

The majority of Victoria’s natural gas travels through the Victorian Transmission System (VTS), a 1,993 km network of high-pressure gas transmission pipelines with a capacity to transport in excess of 220 PJ/a from Esso’s Longford gas plant, the Otway Basin gas fields and underground storage, to approximately 1.4 million residential consumers, as well as 43,000 industrial and commercial users in regional centres including Albury, Echuca, Bendigo and Ballarat.

It does so via five main injection points: Esso’s Longford treatment plant, Culcairn, Port Campbell, Pakenham and the Dandenong LNG gas storage facility. At these points, it also interconnects with various other pipelines and facilities including the Eastern Gas Pipeline, the Moomba to Sydney Pipeline, the SEA Gas Pipeline and the Minerva processing plant.

The VTS, which is owned and operated by APA Group, began construction in the late 1960s, and comprises pipe of varying steel grades (API Grade A, B, X42, X46, X52, X60, X70, as well as SAA A.33 Class D) with diameters ranging from 80-750 mm.

The northern section of the VTS is currently undergoing expansion, which will involve the installation of new compressors, pipeline operating pressure up-rating and installation of flow reversal capability.

The 685 km SEA Gas Pipeline transports Victorian natural gas to Adelaide. The pipeline extends from the Minerva onshore terminal in southwest Victoria to Pelican Point in South Australia and has a diameter of 450 mm, with the exception of twin 350 mm diameter pipelines between the two compressor stations located at Coomandook and Miakite.

The SEA Gas Pipeline was commissioned in January 2004 and is owned by South East Australia (SEA) Gas and operated by APA Group.

The 11 km, 450 mm diameter PCA Lateral connects the PCA to TRUenergy’s Western Underground Storage (WUGS) facility, giving it its alternate name: the WUGS Lateral.

The Point Campbell to Iona (PCI) Pipeline is 11 km long with a 350 mm diameter and connects the Minerva Gas Field to the VTS via the Iona to Lara Pipeline, an APA-owned 144 km, 500 mm diameter pipeline that was commissioned in 2000 and which transports gas from the Iona Gas Plant to Melbourne.

Connected to the SEA Gas Pipeline is the 45 km, 250 mm diameter South East South Australian (SESA) Gas Pipeline, which transports natural gas from a takeoff point on the SEA GAS Pipeline near Poolaijelo in Victoria to the Envestra-owned South East Pipeline network around Mt Gambier, Penola and Millicent. Completed in 2005, the API 5L X60 steel grade pipeline is owned and operated by APA Group and has a capacity of 40 TJ/d at a transmission pressure of 10 MPa.

In 2000, the 797 km, 450 mm diameter Eastern Gas Pipeline (EGP) was commissioned, creating competition between Sydney natural gas suppliers for the first time. The pipeline transports gas from the Gippsland Basin to markets in Sydney and regional centres along the route, including Sale, Bairnsdale and Wilton. Proponent Duke Energy International used API 5L X70 and X65 grade steel pipe with a fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE) coating.

The EGP currently has two compressor stations – one at Longford in Victoria, consisting of four compressor units, and one at Mila in New South Wales – and has a capacity of 98 PJ/a. The pipeline is now owned and operated by Jemena, which is currently planning to increase the pipeline’s capacity to 121 PJ/a through the addition of two new midline compressor stations, with the possibility of additional looping.

Bi-directional flow between the EGP and the VTS is facilitated by the VicHub, a 2.1km, 250 mm diameter interconnect pipeline located at the Longford Compressor Station.

Constructed in 2002 and commissioned in the following year, the VicHub pipeline – which is also owned and operated by Jemena – is made of API 5L X70 with wall thicknesses of 9.8 and 12.7 mm and an FBE coating.

Jemena also operates the 65.5 km, 150 mm diameter South Gippsland Natural Gas Pipeline, which is owned by Multinet Gas. The API 5L X42 steel grade pipeline has wall thicknesses of 4.8 and 6.4 mm, a yellow jacket and dual-layer FBE coating, and will be pigged every ten years, with the next date scheduled in 2018.

Six compressor stations are located along the pipeline at Lang Lang, Bass Gas, Korumburra, Leongatha, Wattle Bank and Wonthaggi. Three 150 mm diameter laterals branch off from the pipeline: the 26.9 km Bass Gas to Korumburra Lateral, the 12 km Korumburra to Leongatha Lateral and the 26.5 km Korumburra to Wonthaggi Lateral.

Tasmania was the last Australian state to receive connection to the natural gas system, achieving this in 2002 with the construction of a 342 km, 350 mm diameter pipeline connecting Longford to Bell Bay – the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline (TGP). A number of laterals have since been added to the mainline, increasing its total length to 736 km.

The pipeline is made of API 5L Grade X65 and X70 steel, with wall thicknesses ranging from 4.8-12.7 mm and a coating of a number of FBE variants. It has one compressor station at Longford and is the only source of natural gas to Tasmania.

The TGP has a capacity of 47 PJ/a and in 2010, had a throughput of 15,473 TJ. It is pigged every ten years and will next be pigged in 2020. The pipeline is owned and operated by Tas Gas Networks.

The 181 km, 102 and 204 mm diameter Carisbrook to Horsham Pipeline, owned and operated by Energy Infrastructure Trust subsidiary Gas Pipelines Victoria, was completed in 1998 and is constructed from API 5L X60 and X42 steel with a high density polyethylene (HDPE) coating.

The high-pressure 185 km, 100 mm diameter Berri to Mildura Pipeline transports gas from Berri in South Australia to Mildura in Victoria. Maintained for owner Envestra by APA Group Asset Management, the X42 steel grade pipeline was completed in 1999 and has two laterals: a 167 km, 100 mm diameter lateral between Angaston and Berri, and the 64.1 km,
100 mm diameter Murray Bridge Lateral.

In January 2011, Origin Energy commissioned the 83 km, 508 mm diameter pipeline that connects to the 550 MW open-cycle Mortlake Power Station. The pipeline has a capacity of 400 TJ/d and a transmission pressure of 15 MPa. Gas for the station will be sourced from Origin’s reserves in the Port Campbell area, and processed at its Otway Gas Plant at Warre.

Offshore gas field developments

As part of Santos’ development of the Casino field, located offshore Victoria in the Otway Basin, the 46 km, 323.9 mm diameter Casino Line pumps gas from the field’s two production wells to shore and then on to the TRUenergy-owned Iona gas processing plant.

The 34 km offshore section has a steel grade of DNV-OS-F101 450 SMLIPD, an 18.1 mm wall thickness and a 3LPP coating. The 12 km onshore section has an API 5L X70 steel grade, a 9.7 mm wall thickness and a FBE coating. The entire pipeline, which was completed in December 2005 and commissioned in January 2006, has a capacity of 109 TJ/d with one compressor station located at the Iona plant.

The Casino Line ties into the Henry Gas Field, a neighbouring Santos development, via a 22 km, 323.9 mm diameter pipeline connection, which shares the same steel grade, wall thickness and coating. This pipeline is owned by gas field participants Santos, AWE and Mitsui E&P, and operated by TRUenergy.

Santos also has a 10 per cent interest in the Minerva Gas Project, the other 90percent interest being held by operator BHP Billiton. The field produces through two wells with gas transported 10 km to shore and then a further 4.5 km inland to the Minerva gas processing plant via a 254 mm diameter pipeline with a capacity of 130-140 TJ/d.

Originally constructed and operated by Woodside, the Otway Gas Project is now a joint venture between current operator Origin Energy, Benaris International and CalEnergy. The development is based on two offshore gas fields – Thylacine and Geographe – and involves a 65 km gas pipeline. The project is designed for an average production of 60PJ/a of natural gas, as well as approximately 100,000 t of LPG and approximately 800,000 bbl of condensate.

A joint venture between operator Origin Energy, AWE Petroleum, CalEnergy Gas and Wandoo Petroleum owns the BassGas Project which produces gas from the Yolla gas fields. An offshore platform is connected to the onshore Lang Lang processing plant via a 350 mm diameter raw gas pipeline, comprised of a 147 km offshore section and a 32 km onshore section. The project also involves a 31 km, 250 mm diameter, FBE-coated sales gas pipeline, which connects the gas processing plant to the VTS at the Dore Road main line valve 9, about 3 km east of Pakenham.

Santos’ Patricia-Baleen gas fields are located in the Gippsland Basin, 23 km offshore the northeastern coast of Victoria. The offshore development consists of two subsea development wells with a 300 mm diameter gas pipeline and umbilical cable connecting to the onshore Patricia-Baleen gas plant, located near Orbost. Processed gas is transported from the plant to the Eastern Gas Pipeline.

Nexus Energy delivers gas from the Longtom Gas Field Development to Santos’ onshore Patricia-Baleen facilities via an approximately 17 km, 300 mm pipeline with a 100 MMcf/d capacity. This pipeline, which was completed and commissioned in 2009, ties into existing infrastructure with gas ultimately transported to the EGP via the Patricia-Baleen facilities. Santos has agreed to process up to 350 PJ of raw gas from the Longtom field, which has been producing since October 2009.

Projects in progress

Located in the Gippsland Basin is the ExxonMobil-operated Kipper Tuna Turrum Project, which ties together the Kipper, Tuna and Turrum fields through a number of pipelines. In addition to the existing 107 km Marlin A to Longford Pipeline, the 92 km Snapper to Longford Pipeline and the West Tuna to Kipper looped pipeline, a new 18.3 km Marlin B to Snapper Pipeline and 16.5 km West Tuna to Marlin B Pipeline is being constructed.

McDermott Australia has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for these new 455 mm diameter pipelines. Pipelay is currently underway and it is expected that the pipelines will reach completion by October 2011.

As part of 3D Oil’s development plant for the West Seahorse Oil Field Development, the West Seahorse-3 will be connected with a terminal plant via a 152 mm diameter FlexSteel oil production pipeline and 76mm diameter gas lift pipeline, which will connect to the Longford to Dandenong Pipeline.

The parallel pipelines will have a total length of 41 km, including a 14 km offshore and 27 km onshore section. The onshore pipeline will circumvent onshore lakes, however it may pass underneath the lakes in which case it would have a length of 15 km. First oil is expected in 2012.

The proposed Sole Pipeline is a 65 km, 350 mm diameter pipeline that will run from the Santos-operated Sole Gas Field to the onshore Patricia-Baleen gas processing plant, where a compression and metering station will also be installed. With a steel grade of API 5L X52 and a FBE and concrete coating, the pipeline will have a capacity of 82 TJ/d and is currently expected to reach completion in 2015.

The approximately 500 km Murray River Gas Pipeline is an election promise from the Victorian Government, who has committed $1 million toward a feasibility study into the provision of natural gas to Victoria’s six Murray River regions. The pipeline will extend from Echuca to Mildura and will benefit the Murray River Group of Councils, which is comprises Swan Hill Rural Council, the Shire of Campaspe, Mildura Rural City Council, Moira Shire, Gannawarra Shire Council and Loddon Shire.

TRUenergy’s proposed 1,000 MW Yallourn Combined Cycle Gas Turbine will involve an approximately 6.5 km gas pipeline to draw gas from the Longford to Dandenong Gas Pipeline at Andersons Road. TRUenergy has said that construction of the pipeline will involve open trenching techniques for all waterway crossings except for the Latrobe River, which will be horizontal directionally drilled.

Tender, design and contract formulation for the project is expected to take place during the second half of 2011, allowing project construction to begin in July 2012 and commissioning in January 2015.

Two 800 m wide underground gas pipeline investigation corridors, a 10 km north-south corridor and an 8 km east-west corridor, are currently under consideration to connect AGL Energy’s proposed Tarrone Power Station to the SEA Gas Pipeline. A 25 m wide works area will be required to install the pipeline.

In March 2010, Santos applied for two pipeline licenses for its 101 km Shaw River Power Station Pipeline, one for a 7 km section near Port Campbell and another for the remaining 94 km of pipeline. The pipeline will run from Port Campbell to a proposed 500 MW gas-fired power station to be located near Orford. Gas is planned to be taken from the VTS near Port Campbell using gas from the Otway and Gippsland basins, with completion of the pipeline expected in the third quarter of 2012.

Origin Energy is also planning to produce commercial gas reserves from the offshore Halladale and Black Watch gas fields, located approximately 30 km southeast of Warrnambool. Gas will be transported from the drill site via two sections of 200 mm diameter pipeline, totalling 10 km, which will connect the onshore well location to a tie-in point with an existing pipeline, before extending to either the Otway or Iona Gas Plant. Pipeline construction will begin in December 2011.

Continued production

Despite years of use, the regular maintenance and frequent inspections of Victoria’s pipeline network ensures that Victoria will continue a steady stream of gas and oil transmission. New developments and the construction of additional pipelines will only serve to enhance this production to provide Victoria with a secure energy future.

Water pipeline briefs
In addition to gas and oil transmission pipelines, Victoria has approximately 10,000 km of water transmission pipelines. Listed below are details on some current projects.
Victorian Desalination Pipeline
Proponent: AquaSure Consortium, comprised of Suez Environnement/Degr̩mont, Thiess and Macquarie Capital Length: 84 km Diameter: 193 mm Capacity: 200 GL/a Status: Under construction; 61.1 km of pipe has been laid. Expected completion date: Mid-2011 Construction contractor: Thiess Degr̩mont Nacap Joint Venture Melbourne РGeelong Pipeline
Proponent: Barwon Water
Length: 59 km Diameter: 800 mm Capacity: 16 GL/a Status: Construction is underway with approximately 8 km already installed. Expected completion date: Late 2011
Construction contractor: Abigroup
Castlemaine Link Project
Proponent: Coliban Water Length: 36 km (19 km is part of another Coliban Water project, the Harcourt Modernisation Project) Diameter: 500 mm Capacity: 23 ML/d Status: Business case has been completed and project could be delivered in future, however, urgency no longer exists due to catchment storages being full. Construction contractor: Not yet awarded.

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