Dr Predrag Micic, Mr Gerald Beckton
Papers # 2014 Chicago
The urgent diversion of a river through a rapidly constructed pipeline was required to avert a power supply crisis to the state of Victoria. In early June 2012, the Morwell River surged and a levee collapsed allowing the river to flow directly into the open cut coal mine which supplies the Yallourn power station. The flooding caused US$400m of damage to infrastructure and put the electricity supply to over 1 million homes and businesses at risk.
With limited coal reserves available to keep the power station operational, a rapid response was required to divert the river, dewater the coal mine and reinstate the supply of coal to the power station. Without the ability to completely divert the river, the mine would have been closed and the power station shut down. PE100 pipe was the only solution that met the project criteria of fast availability, large pipe diameters, adaptable installation techniques, high integrity joints, abrasion resistance and flexibility
The logistical challenge of the delivery of the pipe to the project was significant. A total of 4km of 1600mm diameter PE100 pipe had to be rapidly manufactured and transported to the installation site. The 12m lengths of pipe were delivered to the site one at a time by truck. Large diameter pipe welding equipment was air freighted from the USA and made operational with a commissioning process that employed destructive weld testing techniques.
The around-the-clock pipeline installation involved welding ten lengths of pipe into 120m strings which were then dragged to the installation site for final joining. In just over 2 months, the tie-ins were completed and the pipeline commissioned so that the entire Morwell River was flowing through the pipeline and the repair of the mine infrastructure could begin. Two years later, the pipeline is still in service ensuring effective operation of the mine and securing the supply of power to Victoria.