Fortescue River Gas Pipeline completed and fueling Solomon

Mar 19, 2015

Fortescue River Gas Pipeline completed and fueling Solomon

Mar 19, 2015

TransAlta’s first pipeline now in operation

With the turn of a valve on March 20, natural gas began moving through the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline. This new pipeline, a first for TransAlta, fuels the Solomon power station with natural gas instead of diesel improving reliability and efficiency at the station.

The Fortescue River Gas Pipeline is the longest pipeline built in Western Australia in the past 10 years and is the first pipeline into the heart of the iron ore mining region of the Pilbara. It also has expansion for future growth opportunities.

The history

TransAlta acquired the 125W Solomon power station from Fortescue Metals Group in 2012 while it was still under construction. At the time, there was no access to natural gas as a fuel so the plant’s turbines were running on diesel. Fortescue Metals Group, TransAlta’s customer at Solomon, wanted the power station to run on gas and held a competitive process for companies to build a pipeline to Solomon. To participate in this process, TransAlta and DBP Development Group created a joint venture in January 2014 and were awarded the project.

Starting construction in July 2014, the 270-kilometre, 16-inch pipeline took over 600,000 man hours to complete, with a peak workforce of 350 people. Assembly began from both east and west ends with two to three construction crews working at any one time. The pipeline connects to the Dampier Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline to transport natural gas to Solomon. With the knowledge of DBP Development Group and the experience of the construction contractor, Monadelphous KT Pty Ltd, the pipeline was completed safely in just nine months.

Moving forward

The next steps for the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline include re-profiling and reclamation of the construction right-of-way, which includes protecting the dirt from erosion and re-establishing vegetation. Operations and continuous monitoring of the pipeline will be done remotely by DBP Development Group from their control center located in Perth.

With Solomon now running on gas, the power station’s turbines will run more efficiently and with a lower maintenance cost. Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel, making its emissions low, helping TransAlta continue to provide reliable and sustainable electricity to our mining customers in Western Australia.

March 19, 2015