Construction of the $22-million South East South Australia (SESA) pipeline to Penola was fast-tracked after industrial users had to ration their gas use earlier this year, when it was revealed that the local Katnook gasfield was drying up.
Origin Energy spokesman Wayne Gregory says the SESA pipeline now connects the region to Victoria and the national grid. “The issues over the last few months have been very testing, but I think in conjunction with the community and the customers down there we’ve managed to get through,” he said. “Certainly this new pipeline will provide major benefits to the region, and we’re delighted it’s coming on early and with no environmental or safety issues in its construction.”
Origin’s general manager of public and government affairs, Tony Wood said: “The gas now flowing into the south east pipeline system from the eastern States via the SEAGas pipeline, provides additional supply options into the retail market and offers a sound basis for the continued strong growth of regional industry. Whilst originally forecast to be in service later in 2005, Origin decided earlier this year to commit additional resources to accelerate the construction of the SESA pipeline and its connections in response to the greater than anticipated decline in local gas supplies. Gas was expected to flow in early June, but favourable weather and a well-managed construction program has seen gas flow ahead of time.”
Installation of temporary connection facilities at each end of the pipeline meant that gas was available from the eastern Australia gas grid five months ahead of the original schedule. This was most important for the retail market in the SE of South Australia as the region is now entering winter.
The 45-km long, 8-in diameter, pipeline and its temporary connections were constructed over a ten-week period by NACAP Australia Pty Ltd. The line, between Poolaijelo in Victoria and Ladbroke Grove near Penola in South Australia, still requires additional work at each end, which is scheduled to be completed by October. At that time, the present temporary meter stations at each end of the pipeline will be replaced with permanent facilities.