As an important part of the Kupe Project, the spoolbase contract included:
- A fabrication facility and bridging of a 60m wide stormwater pond
- Welding a total of 28,000 m of pipes into 70 individual 420m long strings (pipe stalks)
- 120m fabrication facility
- 68 pipe stalks
- 50 welds averaged per day
- 27,000m of underwater pipe
- 20,000 man hours
In order to support the overall Kupe Gas Project, McConnell Dowell established and operated a temporary spoolbase. Over its life, the kupe provided the New Zealand gas network with approximately 253 petajoules of natural gas, LPG, and 15 million barrels of light oil (condensate).
This high profile project was set to be challenging, with limited space and tight timeframes in which to build an effective spoolbase operation. In 15 weeks, the McConnell Dowell team successfully built a fully functioning, world-class temporary spoolbase.
The steep terrain and existing buildings behind Waimahara Wharf limited the spoolbase size and restricted the maximum pipe stalk length to 420m.
The 300mm diameter pipe was delivered to the spoolbase in 12 m lengths. The pipes were then placed on a roller system and passed through the enclosed pipe preparation, automatic welding, testing and coating facility to create 120 m pipe strings. A tie-in welding operation extended these to pipe stalks of 420 m.
From here, the stalks were loaded onto the Apache reel barge. The tie-ins were then welded to make a total reel length of approximately 9,300 m. The Apache subsequently transported the pipe to South Taranaki for laying on the seabed in depths of up to 35 m. This was the first time a subsea gas pipeline was laid in New Zealand using this method.
Developing and qualifying the bespoke welding procedures to meet stringent quality and safety standards was crucial to our success, as well as retaining key technical staff throughout the project.