Pipeline damage causes disruptions to New Zealand’s largest airport

The Refinery Auckland Pipeline (RAP) is a 10 inch (250 mm) pipeline with a capacity of 9 million litres, carrying diesel, petrol and jet fuel in controlled batches from Whangarei Harbour, Northland under farmland, towns and part of the Manukau Harbour to the Wiri Terminal, South Auckland.

A small pipeline from Wiri is then used to supply Jet A1 product to the airport.

Stuff reported that the damage to the pipeline – which was allegedly caused by a piece of construction machinery – had resulted in dozens of flights out of Auckland being cancelled, as well as ticket sales being restricted and the diversion of long-haul flights to Wellington to refuel.

Refining NZ, which is managing the pipeline’s repair, initially said that the leak could be repaired by installing a clamp on the damaged section of the pipe; however, on closer inspection and excavation, it was shown that the damaged section needed to be replaced.

Refining NZ said one of four welds had been completed, and the first of the two inline stopple plugs were in place.

A press release from the organisation, dated 20 September, said, “We are progressing with the replacement pipe section. The new 17 m pipe section will be hydro-tested, and delivered to site tomorrow morning.

“The excavation trench is being extended to accommodate this replacement section. We expect to be able to start cutting out the damaged section tomorrow morning.

“It will be drained, then cut and removed. We remain on track to deliver Jet fuel via the pipeline to Wiri between midday Sunday the 24th and midday Tuesday the 26th (September).”

Along with First Gas, Refining NZ is also conducting coating insulation testing on both RAP and an associated gas pipeline to ensure that there is no further coating damage within the immediate vicinity.

For more information visit the Refining NZ website.

If you have news you would like featured in Pipelines International contact Managing Editor Nick Lovering at nlovering@gs-press.com.au

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