The Pluto LNG Project, submitted by Woodside Energy Limited, has been named the Overall Winner of the WA Engineering Excellence Awards
The initial phase of the Pluto project consists of an unmanned, remotely operated offshore platform in 85 metres of water, connected to five subsea big bore wells on the Pluto gas field. Gas is piped to shore along a 180-kilometre long 36-inch pipeline to the new Burrup LNG Park, located between the North West Shelf Venture and Dampier Port. There, it is processed in a single LNG processing train, which has a forecast production capacity of 4.3 million tons a year. The gas is stored in two LNG tanks, with a combined capacity of 240,000 cubic metres, and three condensate tanks with a combined capacity of 130,000 cubic metres.
Pluto gas is said to be naturally low in carbon dioxide – about two per cent, which is less than much of the other gas in the region.
Woodside is investing up to A$100 million in a program to offset reservoir emissions from the Pluto field. The aim, the company says, is to make Pluto one of the most environmentally efficient LNG plants in the world.
To meet this goal, the project includes a major investment in tree planting and the largest marine monitoring programme of its kind in the world, which is aimed at minimising the impact of dredging activities on marine life. Woodside has also committed to offset any impact to the marine environment through a biodiversity offsets program.
The project has already produced huge economic benefits for Australia, generating some 15,000 Australian jobs and $7.6 billion in local content.
The awards look to reward projects that exemplify innovation, development and research that helps push the industry forward, and it was two offshore projects that impressed the judges most.
A project conceived in response to an unplanned offshore failure that resulted in a 200-kilogram steel nose cone becoming lodged in a subsea wellhead in the Bass Strait also received lofty praise. The engineering group at Velocious were tasked with developing a solution that would enable divers to extract the nose cone from the wellhead.
Due to limited information, the tooling solution had to be designed to deal with many unknowns and still function exactly as planned. After eight months and 7,500 hours of design, manufacture and testing, the Velocious tooling package was deployed and successfully extracted the nosecone on the first attempt.
The winner in the Innovation and Development category, however was an innovative research program developing new technologies for sea bed pipelines, which is underway at the University of Western Australia (UWA).
Underpinning this program is a giant flume. Developed by UWA engineers, the Large O-tube is globally unique and simulates cyclones to assess pipelines’ on-bottom stability.
The research need is driven by the high costs of stabilising the pipelines that connect Australia’s offshore gas fields to shore and pipeline design challenges due to the difficulty in predicting the movement of sea bed sediment in an area that is subject to cyclones.
The program will improve assessments of pipeline stability and lead to more efficient and safer design of WA’s offshore infrastructure.