The length of the pipeline is matched by its complexity, with 50 licenses across the onshore and offshore pipeline network, 22 valve sites and 100,000km of easements to be patrolled each year.
The scale of the pipeline network and its importance to the business has seen the development of a dedicated pipelines team. The Pipelines Group, within Esso’s Maintenance and Modifications organisation is responsible for monitoring the integrity of the pipeline, safeguarding the pipelines from external interference, managing landowner relationships and maintaining the pipelines and easements, amongst other duties.
Esso Australia’s Pipelines Supervisor, Farrah Tan-Savva said that the establishment of the pipelines team has also seen the implementation of a range of new technologies to more effectively manage inspections and maintenance.
“This includes the use of in-field tablets that leverages ‘Google Maps-like’ satellite technology to display the pipeline placement and condition wherever the field operative might be standing. The applications in the tablets were customised for use by EMIT’s GIS team and are now being used by the Pipeline Surveillance Officers and aerial surveillance contractor, Bairnsdale Air Charter.”
“We also have new tethered plugs at our disposal. These relatively new technology are able to be directly inserted into pipelines to enable the safe replacement of valves. The ability to replace valves with direct and fast access also minimises the downtime and emissions associated with flaring gas during traditional valve replacement procedures, which is great from an environmental and community perspective,” she said.
Farrah said that, along with managing pipeline maintenance, the team also had an important role to play in local communities where the pipeline runs underground.
“Our team plays an active role in the community, consulting on urban planning with local councils and developers with regards to pipeline easements, as well as managing landowner relationships.
“The pipelines team is visible, active and extremely passionate about ensuring our pipeline network is running safely and efficiently with minimal disruption to local communities,” she said.