Saipem has won the 2014 Premier’s Sustainability Award in Australia, for the category Innovation in Sustainable Technologies.
The prize, awarded to Saipem for the construction of the Narrows Marine Crossing, is promoted by the Queensland Government’s Department for the Protection of Environmental and Natural Heritage, and is supported by the Queensland University of Technology.
The Narrows Marine Crossing is one of the world’s longest trenchless marine pipelines. Saipem was awarded the detailed design, procurement and construction for the project by Santos GLNG in 2011. The pipeline, which is 4.3 kilometers long and 42” wide, will transport the extracted and compressed coal seam gas from gas fields between the town of Roma, in Queensland, and the Arcadia Valley to the Curtis Island LNG processing facility, off Gladstone. The last section of the GLNG pipeline runs across the vast tidal plain known as The Narrows.
In order to minimize the environmental impact of pipeline construction activities, Saipem built a 4 meters wide undersea tunnel enabling the pipeline to cross The Narrows without disturbance to the local marine habitat, wildlife and surrounding coastal environment.
The most innovative aspect of this project, never performed before in the Oil and Gas industry, is the utilization of a Pipe Thruster Machine to launch a pipeline in a tunnel.
The excavation of the tunnel was performed using a Tunnel Boring Machine with an internal diameter of 3.4 meters, which lines the tunnel with precast concrete segments. The 42” pipeline was installed inside the tunnel, subsequently completely sealed and backfilled with seawater. The flooded tunnel facilitates the pipeline pushing action by reducing the pipe’s vertical load and consequently the friction on the tunnel floor.
Commitment to technological innovation and sustainability are amongst Saipem’s priorities. The Narrows Marine Crossing project is an example of technological excellence applied to sustainability which aims to reduce the environmental footprint of all the operations, particularly in areas with a delicate ecosystem.
Saipem received the award along with Santos GLNG and Thiess.
Press Release, June 23, 2014; Image: SantosGLNG