Ashburton Onslow Gas Pipeline Project, Western Australia
By land, sea and air
Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe has supplied HFI-welded steel pipes to Australia for the first time. The Ashburton Onslow Gas Pipeline serves a power plant that generates power for a mining area. Despite the haste and the distance, pipe-laying got underway on schedule – thanks to deliveries by land, sea and air.
In 2013, a Japanese international trading house (Metal One) with a branch in London inquired about steel pipes for a natural gas pipeline in Australia. "Initially it sounded like a big challenge," Nils Schmidt, responsible Area Sales Manager at Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe, recalls. "After all, the contract also called for pipe bends – a possible job for our sister company Salzgitter Mannesmann Grobblech."
The first bid at the end of 2013 then became known internally as the "Ashburton Onslow Gas Pipeline Project" at the beginning of 2014, with a definite order being placed in July. The problem was that the pipes and pipe bends had to be ready at a storage yard near Onslow in Western Australia by September – some 13,000 km as the crow flies from the Siegen and Mülheim production sites.
So everything had to shift into gear quickly. Together with customer representatives and project coordinators, a team was put together for implementation. After clarification of the technical specifications, an audit was held at short notice in Siegen and Hamm for the pending project in February 2014.
Nils Schmidt: "The biggest stumbling-block for us was not the technical specifications but the tight production and delivery deadlines." Pipe production was launched immediately after order receipt while the Logistics department attended to the timing of delivery and handover to a suitable sea forwarder.
The process was then stalled by problems in strip production, and the prospects of a several-week delay in delivery of the 435 t of X52M pipes loomed. The project team immediately pulled out all the stops in their quest for a swift solution.
The customer representatives were therefore more than delighted when they were able to release higher-grade coils obtained at short notice for production. The production of the urgently needed goods was only held up for few days.
To make use of the already tightly scheduled loading window at the Port of Antwerp, the first pipes for container shipment were sent in parallel by rail and truck from Siegen. Here again, Tomoya Mihara, Sha Alavi, Nghia Truong, Nils Schmidt and a surveyor's agent were available on site so that the urgent freight could be loaded unscathed and expertly into a total of 23 sea containers and dispatched on its long voyage. The consignment went via Singapore to Perth, where the pipes were subsequently sent by truck roughly 1,000 km to the north.
Due to the delay in strip milling and subsequent pipe production, it unfortunately wasn't possible to complete the pipe bends on time – by now shipment by sea was out of the question. An air freight shipment was therefore organized at short notice that took off on a 23-hour flight from Frankfurt to Perth in October. As a result, pipe-laying on the Ashburton Onslow Gas Pipeline still got off to a punctual start.
The close-out meeting was held in Perth in March 2015, with a project review conducted together with DBP and Metal One/Mitsubishi. Nils Schmidt: "The cooperative attitude of everyone concerned and the solution-driven approach made the project a success for all of us."