RP3.4-03: Centre of excellence for third party pipeline damage control

Executive Summary

External interference is the major cause of failures in the pipeline industry with international data indicating that almost 50% of pipeline failures are due to external impacts. The experience in Australia to date has shown that there is a lower rate of external interference related failure incidents than other regions. However, this needs to be treated with some caution as pipelines age and developments encroach on pipelines, resulting in a continuously increasing level of third party activity around operating pipelines within residential areas.

In addition, there is the potential that high pressure natural gas pipelines will undergo a change to hydrogen service as the industry looks to decarbonise Australia’s energy network. Therefore, understanding the interactions between hydrogen service and third party impact damage and potential failure becomes vital in ensuring public safety.

This work is the first phase of a program to establish centre of excellence for evaluation and control of damage to pipelines due to third party interference. This phase of program upgraded the existing horizontal directional drilling (HDD) test rig which will be employed in next phases of the program.

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Commencement / End Date November 2019 to December 2020
Outcomes / Impact

This project helps industry to overcome the issues arising from the intrusion of third parties using the readily available HDD test rig which can be used by industry for cost-effective testing of project-specific pipeline type/materials, rotating equipment types or protection measures. Use of the test rig will generate a quantitative understanding of HDD equipment damage to pipelines for a range of HDD equipment sizes and bit types. This enables implementation of appropriate and specific protection measures based on quantified results.

Partners University of Wollongong, Jemena, Beach Energy, APA Group, MPC.
Research Contact

Douglas Proud

Research & Utilisation Program Coordinator