Esso Australia has begun construction of a new $400 million pipeline near Sale, Victoria, that will ensure the continuing supply of natural gas to Victorian households and businesses. Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is being used at numerous sites along the pipeline route to protect the surrounding environment.

The replacement pipeline will be constructed adjacent to Esso’s existing crude oil and condensate and LPG pipelines. Construction work will mainly occur on private land and should not cause significant disruption to the community.

The pipeline will allow the continued delivery of crude oil and condensate, and will also ensure that natural gas from Esso’s offshore Gippsland operations continues to flow to Australian households and businesses.

Esso Australia has contracted Nacap Australia to build the replacement pipeline. Nacap is expected to source the majority of the people, equipment and services required for construction from within Victoria and Australia, where possible.

ExxonMobil Australia Chairman, Richard Owen, said, “This major infrastructure project, together with the construction of the $1 billion gas conditioning plant at Longford and the $4.5 billion Kipper Tuna Turrum domestic gas project, is a testament to our continued commitment to safe, responsible operations in the Gippsland region.”

Esso Australia is part of ExxonMobil Australia, and its Longford pipeline replacement project will create jobs in earthworks, trenching, welding and surveying.

The project will also provide jobs to the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) sector, with a number of sections along the pipeline’s route to be installed utilising the trenchless method.

In total, the project will involve 14 major HDD crossings and 45 mini HDD crossings.

Construction by Nacap officially commenced in March and by May 2016, 110km of pipeline had been lowered in over 86 working days, three construction cycles and involving a workforce of 450.

“We worked closely with our client during the project development phase to determine optimal construction processes and address all stakeholder concerns regarding the implementation of the project,” said Matthew O’Connell, President, Nacap Australia.

“Combining this with peak prioritisation of project-wide safety and innovative construction techniques, we are well credentialed to deliver the project.”

Critical infrastructure

Operating for more than 45 years, the Longford gas plant has been supplying most of Victoria’s gas requirements since 1969 and currently supplies around 20 per cent of Australia’s crude oil requirements.

The new pipeline is 350mm in diameter and replaces the existing 700mm pipeline which was constructed in 1969, following the existing pipeline route. The existing pipeline underwent a partial replacement in 1980 but is now approaching the end of its operational life.

The new pipeline will allow for continued delivery of crude oil and condensate as well as natural gas, providing continuity of supply for Australian households and businesses.

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “This is a major project that will create around 500 jobs and benefit local suppliers with the majority of materials to be sourced locally.

“Replacing the old pipeline will help ensure the continuing supply of natural gas to Victorian households and businesses.”

The project is part of a multi-billion dollar investment in oil and gas infrastructure in the Gippsland region by Esso Australia, which will deliver jobs and opportunities for local suppliers.

The majority of the construction work on the replacement pipeline will take place on private land through six local council areas, including towns such as Rosedale, Traralgon, Yallourn, Moe, Trafalgar, Warragul, Koo Wee Rup and Pearcedale.

Construction of the replacement pipeline is expected to be finished by early 2017.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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