CSG industry gathers for polyethylene gathering

Held at the Brisbane Hilton on 4 February 2010, more than 170 pipeliners attended APIA’s first technical seminar on coal seam gas (CSG) gathering lines. Nine industry professionals covered a range of issues involved with the use of polyethylene (PE) pipe, materials and fittings.

As more CSG projects are being commercialised, the amount of buried PE pipe being used by the CSG industry for both gas and water has rapidly increased. APIA members noted that safety in this sector of the industry, particularly for pressure testing and commissioning, must be addressed.

While the existing Australian standard for PE 100 pipe and materials exceeds the current ISO standard, an APIA working group is preparing a code of practice to meet the industry’s holistic requirements similar to the suite of AS2885 standards for high pressure steel pipelines.

The draft is to be completed by mid-2010, for finalisation by mid-2011. The working group comprises members representing producers, designers, constructors, materials and fittings suppliers, and all major CSG producing companies.

APIA President Peter Cox welcomed guests to the seminar, highlighting the rapid growth of the CSG industry. “We’ve all been living and breathing CSG – it’s an extreme activity in the gas transmission industry,” he said.

The presentations

Attendees heard from a number of speakers. Queensland Department of Mines and Energy Chief Inspector of the Petroleum & Gas Division Stephen Matheson discussed issues of safety involved in CSG operations on drilling sites, pipeline construction sites, and gas processing facilities and plants. Mr Matheson described operators’ obligations onsite, and processes of implementing safety management systems.

Mark Heathcote, Executive General Manager of the Plastics Industry Pipe Association (PIPA), provided a brief overview of the association’s role in developing specific industry guidelines and representing manufacturers of plastic pipe.

Qenos Technical Manager Predrag Micic took the floor to speak passionately about developments in the manufacture of polyethylene pipe materials in Australia, current standards and quality management.

Borouge Singapore’s Marketing Manager, Pipe, Robin Bresser then presented on global current and historical uses of PE pipe systems, highlighting case studies in the United Kingdom, Germany, Abu Dhabi, Japan and China.

Georg Fischer’s Enzo Bova spoke on jointing techniques for PE pipe, leading a technical discussion of both electrofusion and butt welding techniques.

After lunch, Hugh Luckhurst-Smith briefly outlined the APIA working group’s objectives, an update on its achievements so far, and future goals. Following Hugh, David Chappell from PPI Corporation reviewed current standards and guidelines for pipe manufacture, materials, jointing, installations and chemical resistance.

The technical presentations continued with Vinidex’s Mike Stahmer and Alan Whittle Pty Ltd’s Alan Whittle presenting on pressure testing and temperature rerating respectively.

After closing comments from Peter Cox, guests retired to the hotel bar for refreshments and further discussion about PE pipe.

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