What is typically involved in managing the TGP?
A typical day mainly involves day-to-day integrity management of the asset.
This entails managing planned and reactive maintenance, technical compliance and encroachment detection and investigation. The principal risk to the TGP is third-party activity, so a large part of Zinfra’s integrity management role involves third-party education programs, landowner liaison, asset location services (such as Dial Before You Dig) and development applications.
With development applications, we work together with developers to develop best outcomes including assessment of the risk from proposed developments on the TGP and consequences of asset failure.
What have been highlights during your time working on the TGP?
There have been so many highlights for me, but the day natural gas reached Tasmania for the first time at the Five Mile Bluff main line valve station was one of the most memorable.
Other highlights that spring to mind include: as the operator of the TGP, going ten years without a lost time injury and two-and-a-half years without an identified TGP encroachment; working on a world-class asset designed and installed to the highest standards; the continued growth of the TGP and the consequent collaborative projects; and being accepted by landowners who were affected by the construction of the TGP.
To expand on the last point, in the days of the TGP construction, there were some challenges around the perception of us and the work we were doing to install a natural gas pipeline that in most instances did not benefit the affected landowner.
From the construction to operation phase of the TGP, a great deal of time and resources has been put into land owner liaison and relations. I really do feel that now we have been accepted by landowners and the community and become respected asset owner representatives.
To what do you attribute this record of personal and asset safety?
The culture within the organisation. A positive culture within the workforce started with Duke during the TGP construction, and continues within Zinfra today.
Besides being good mates who take care of each other, there are core values of respect and sense of community. Individually and collectively, we have a sense of TGP ownership and we are all empowered to proactively assess and mitigate against identified risks and hazards.
The TGP is a quality asset that has been constructed to best practice standards including a very high quality coating. Construction and ongoing operations are heavily regulated, with the regulators setting the bar very high.
What challenges are there with managing the integrity of the TGP?
The biggest threat to integrity of any gas transmission pipeline, including the TGP, is that from external interference from third-party activity.
In addition, our integrity management focus is shifting from a new asset to an asset that is now ten years old. In real terms this means ongoing refurbishment of equipment that has operated without failure for ten years but is starting show signs of deterioration.
Apart from these issues, projects which involve establishing new connections to the TGP, such as the recent connection and construction of an offtake at Gawler for gas supply to Ulverstone, provide us with numerous challenges.
However, these are good challenges to have because of the positive outcomes. Taking into account the TGP cannot be turned off or shut down to connect additional offtakes, one can appreciate that safely managing these projects takes a lot of time and resources.
How are these risks and challenges dealt with?
In respect to third-party activities, apart from the physical protection considered during the design of the TGP (such as exclusion through depth of burial, signage, etc.), we provide a free onsite location service utilising the Dial Before You Dig process.
Additionally, we have well-developed proactive and reactive management procedures such as monthly pipeline fly-overs, annual pipeline alignment walk overs, informative newsletters, landowner liaison and assessments of developments within the TGP planning corridor.
Zinfra has structured integrity management programs that consider historical reliability data, equipment vendor recommendations and compliance obligations to develop annual maintenance plans.
If you had a single message for anyone working adjacent to the TGP what would it be?
The TGP is designed and operated in a way that is extremely safe but if anyone has any queries, concerns or is working anywhere near the TGP, please utilise the Dial Before You Dig service and/or contact Zinfra directly.