Building A Pipeline – Taking On The Challenge

Date posted: January 2, 2018

Pipelines are an essential part of Australia’s infrastructure, with more than 37,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission pipelines traversing the country. Along with gas, other types of pipelines carry water, oil, slurry and other liquids, across a wide variety of terrain with different geological and topographical features. The many variables involved in the journey make the construction of these pipelines challenging.

The First Challenge – Where will the Pipeline Run?

Choosing the route the pipeline will take is the first challenge. Natural features such as rivers, cliffs and valleys, sensitive flora and fauna, cultural and historic sites, and man-made obstacles like high-tension wires and population centres must all be considered when making the final decision. Once this is done, the process of getting all the necessary approvals starts.

The Second Challenge – Design for Safety and Reliability

While this is taking place, the design engineers get started on the technical specifications and the detailed planning. In the case of a gas pipeline, the Australian Standards require a concerted focus on public safety. Transmission pipelines such as gas must be safe and reliable, so the design and materials will be chosen carefully.

Expect the Unexpected

We get the benefit of all this planning and technical skill when we contract to do the actual pipeline construction. As pipeline installation specialists, Reay Services Group accepts the challenges presented to us with each new project. After more than 20 years working in the resources industry, we know what to expect when we start a new job, but we also confront the unexpected, and that makes everything more interesting.

We work with a range of pipeline materials, depending on the product being transported through the pipeline. Our people are experienced at working with steel, fibreglass and concrete, and other specialised materials like HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and DICL (ductile iron pipe). Each pipeline is unique and the way in which it is handled, installed and tested must suit the purpose.

The Third Challenge – People Skills

Not all of our challenges are technical ones. Because our pipelines traverse private and public land, having a respectful working relationship with local communities is essential to keeping the work moving. While our work can bring an economic benefit to regional towns, it can also disrupt normal activities, so it is important to keep everyone affected by our presence informed, so they know what to expect.

Alternative Solutions Overcome Obstacles

This can be just as difficult as the physical work, and sometimes we must look for alternative solutions to problems in conjunction with land owners and community groups. Regardless of the challenges, our work is interesting, testing but also very rewarding, as we overcome each obstacle to get the job done.