Jumping water on the Port Kembla looping project

Pipe Tek’s Port Kembla Project team with the company’s custom-built hydrotesting truck. Image supplied by Pipe Tek.

Pipe Tek Managing Director Myles Brannelly and Operations Manager Taddam Farrant discuss the company’s work on the newly constructed Port Kembla lateral looping project.

Jemena and its project partners Zinfra and NACAP were contracted to construct the Port Kembla lateral looping pipeline – a 12.2km gas pipeline connecting Squadron Energy’s new Port Kembla Gas Terminal at Spring Hill to Jemena’s Eastern Gas Pipeline at Kembla Grange in the Wollongong City Council region.

The project also included an upgrade to Jemena’s existing Kembla Grange facility to include a metering station.

Zinfra Acting General Manager of Projects and Infrastructure Justin Anderson said that once operational, the terminal had the ability to meet more than 70 per cent of New South Wales (NSW) current gas needs.

“This is a complex project which relied on teams from different businesses working together to deliver it on time,”Anderson said.

“While Zinfra took the lead on project management and engineering work, we were supported by a skilled team of experts from NACAP and its key subcontractors such as Pipe Tek.

“Each team brought a unique set of skills to the table in order to tackle the challenges presented by this project.”

The project involved the construction of 10 complex horizontal directional drills (HDDs) across the pipeline alignment.

NACAP commenced construction in December 2022 with the help of trenchless subcontractor UEA Group, and subcontracted Pipe Tek to pre-test all HDDs, as well as mainline hydrotesting works and a caliper pig run following the completion of construction activities.

“This project was a really exciting one to be involved with,” Brannelly said.

“We always enjoy working with the NACAP team and we love a good challenge.”

Farrant agreed and noted his appreciation working with NACAP.

“We love working with NACAP,” Farrant said.

“Being able to support a project that aims to strengthen the security of gas supply for NSW and the east coast was the icing on the cake.”

Myles in Pipe Tek's portable lab monitoring pressures during testing. Image supplied by Pipe Tek.
Myles in Pipe Tek’s portable lab monitoring pressures during testing. Image supplied by Pipe Tek.

Advanced hydrotesting techniques

As part of the contract, Pipe Tek strength and leak tested the 450mm diameter, 12km looping mainline at 22 megapascals (MPa) in accordance with AS2885.5, using its custom-built hydrotest trailer with in-built Protech pump.

The team also completed a tie-in spool test on the 0.1km Kembla Grange Meter Station to EGP pipeline.

“We actually tested the mainline in two sections – one 6500m section and one 5500m section – using a hydrotesting technique called ‘jumping’,” Brannelly said.

‘Jumping’ of the test water allowed Pipe Tek to use the same water to test both pipeline sections.

The team used water from bladders installed in the middle of the two pipe sections. The bladder bags required careful handling to ensure that no damage and water loss occurred.

After completing testing on the first section, the test water was pushed through to the second section with pigs via break tanks.

“It’s a difficult technique so our onsite team were on high alert,” Farrant said.

“We scheduled a 24-hour roster to make sure everything went smoothly, and it did.

Hydrotest point setup – Port Kembla. Image supplied by Pipe Tek.
Hydrotest point setup – Port Kembla. Image supplied by Pipe Tek.

Providing pig data in a tricky location

Pipe Tek completed cleaning and gauging with bidirectional pigs and used a cupped magnet pig to help remove ferrous material in the pipeline.

The team also completed a caliper run using an Enduro Pipeline Service 18-inch Digital Data Logger (Ddl) to confirm the ovality of the pipe.

“The run went really well and delivered some great data,” Farrant said.

“The Ddl is an efficient and thorough tool to use – it logs anomalies in clock positions and can detect up to five datasets in one pass.

Desiccant dryers, compressors and foam pigs were used to dry the pipeline to -20 degrees Celsius for commissioning.

“The pipeline runs through a major town – Wollongong – and includes numerous HDDs, which meant there were lots of bends and it was difficult to navigate the pigs through the network,” Farrant said.

Pipe Tek on the Port Kembla looping easement. Image supplied by Pipe Tek.
Pipe Tek on the Port Kembla looping easement. Image supplied by Pipe Tek.

Always up for a challenge

Pipe Tek’s works on the Port Kembla Lateral Pipeline Project mainline took 30 days to complete.

“This project had a few interesting aspects that tested and proved our team’s abilities,” Farrant said.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more supportive contractor to work with in NACAP.”

Brannelly agreed and said it was a rewarding project for the team.

“We love a good challenge – and this project involved some advanced hydrotesting techniques, tricky pig manoeuvring, working to tight deadlines, and communication with multiple stakeholders,” he said.

NACAP Operations Director James Povey noted the company’s work with Pipe Tek.

“NACAP and Pipe Tek worked well together to successfully deliver the Port Kembla Pipeline Project hydrotesting program,” Povey said.

“Pipe Tek brought well established systems and processes to the project as well as enthusiasm to deliver their work safely.”

Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Pipe Tek is an end-to-end pipeline cleaning, inspection, and testing company with strong attention to detail and a direct approach to safety.

The company is Enduro Pipeline Services’ exclusive agent for Australia.

For more information, visit pipetek.com.au.

This article featured in the January edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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