In my report in the last edition, I presented a case supporting the prediction of significantly increased activity in the pipeline sector. Since then we have seen QGC’s Queensland Curtis LNG Project given the green light, and Santos’ GLNG Project and the Australian Pacific LNG Project get very close to final investment decisions. The transmission pipelines associated with these projects are major projects in their own right but there is significantly more opportunity for APIA members in the extensive polyethylene (PE) gathering systems and networks for both gas and water.
To address these, the industry needs to be able to efficiently and safely design, construct, commission and operate these extensive PE gathering systems APIA is playing a leading role in developing a Code of Practice for Upstream PE Gathering Networks. I am pleased to advise that at the time of writing, APIA plans to have a draft of this code on the website by the end of 2010. I encourage all members to commence using the Code of Practice and provide APIA with feedback or any comments or suggestions for improvement to enable the final revision to be issued.
I am extremely pleased with the quality and content of the code and believe that the industry benefits will be substantial in safety, cost and quality. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all who contributed their valuable time toward the preparation of the document. I will not mention names or single out individuals but there were certainly many strong contributors who provided their expertise – mostly in their own time – helping to ensure that the document addressed the needs of the industry. It is now up to industry to make it even better by giving it a thorough road test and feeding back suggestions for improvement.
The content of the Code of Practice has been specifically designed to be, as far as possible, a single reference source for the coal seam gas industry in working with PE pipe and fittings. It is applicable to PE water and gas pipeline systems of all diameters manufactured to the PE100 specification. Industry has experienced problems with the integrity of electrofusion joints in PE pipe, particularly in large diameters, so the code addresses this by proposing mandatory training and accreditation of PE welders, as well as defining minimum technical requirements.
The widespread use of pneumatic pressure testing in PE networks has resulted in safety issues in the past, so an important part of the code addresses both pneumatic and hydrostatic testing, with particular reference to safety. This is partly done through specifying the training required by testers in the business, as well as giving good guidance on the procedures. The code also considers technical issues such as temperature re-rating to meet the unique conditions experienced in Australia. International codes have not needed to consider application in higher temperatures, so the code has applied research in this area to plug this gap. The design factors are also addressed to specifically relate to conditions experienced in Australia, and a risk-based methodology has been applied that considers proximity to populated areas and other infrastructure.
While formal adoption of this code will be a decision for each company, I am confident that it will gain wide-spread acceptance from both industry and regulators as a single and comprehensive approach to PE gathering systems used in the coal seam gas industry. Well done again to all who were involved in this process and I wish all APIA members a successful and prosperous year in 2011.