This landmark project is expected to be in a position to deliver the bulk of the additional capacity during the first quarter of 2008, with the remainder due for completion later in the year. The expansion project has been developed to meet the existing demand for energy in the southwest – for electricity generation, industrial expansion and increasing domestic gas consumption.
The $660 million expansion is adding another approximately 100 TJ a day of gas transmission capacity to Australia’s largest gas pipeline system via an additional 570 km of looping and further modifications to the existing compressor stations.
The project’s outstanding safety and environment record is being maintained, with no time lost to injuries and no environmental incidents being reported up to the end of August.
Looping is well advanced, with welding and pipelaying completed on three of the ten loops – Loops 10, 9 and 1. Work on remaining loops is progressing south in a sequential manner along the pipeline and involves site works such as river crossings, rock blasting and trenching ahead of lowering-in, hydrotesting and commissioning. All of the 570 km of pipe has been manufactured and coated and over 90 per cent has now been delivered to Australia.
A significant part of the Stage 5A expansion project involves the upgrade of facilities at seven compressor stations to enable the higher levels of gas throughput to be managed. A recent milestone was marked with the first completion and commissioning of a site – CS7. Early in August, the new aftercooler and 500 kW gas engine alternator were tied into the existing facilities at CS7. A new
switchroom also had to be installed to handle the additional power requirement on site, specifically for the fans on the new aftercooler.
Civil works for compressor station facilities have been completed on six of the seven sites and mechanical and electrical works are nearing completion on three of these sites.
There has also been an extensive period of pre-commissioning activity in the weeks before shut down for tie-in to the existing facilities. New equipment was installed and secured to the new foundations, allowing the pre-commissioning to go ahead. The core of this activity involves ensuring the equipment is installed according to specifications, that all facilities and equipment are ready to receive electricity and high pressure gas.
In order to minimise the impact of outages, DBP and the project manager (AAM) have been working closely with shippers to coordinate the commissioning outages required to tie in the new pipeline loops and new equipment at compressor stations. Work has also recently begun on compiling handover procedures to the operating team for Stage 5A works.
DBP Executive Chairman Stuart Hohnen said that since May 2005 the new owners had committed a total of approximately $1.35 billion to the expansion of the pipeline. This includes the recently announced Stage 5A(2) expansion which will follow the completion of Stage 5A. He indicated that Stage 5A alone is providing direct employment for up to 700 people and that major industrial projects worth an estimated $3.5 billion are dependent on the completion of the pipeline’s expansion.
The completion of the Stage 4 expansion was marked in February this year with an event at CS9, 130 km north of Perth, attended by the Treasurer and Deputy Premier Eric Ripper.
Combined, the Stage 4, Stage 5A and Stage 5A(2) expansions represent an investment more than three times the size of the financial commitment DBP gave to the State Government and the ACCC when the pipeline was purchased in October 2004.