The INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG Project has welcomed the semi-submersible pipelay barge SEMAC-1 to the Northern Territory.

The arrival of the 188 metre-long Saipem-operated vessel at the Darwin Outer Port Limits signals the start of important work on the Project’s 889 kilometre gas export pipeline (GEP) which will connect Bladin Point to the Ichthys Field in the Browse Basin.

Managing Director Ichthys LNG Project Louis Bon said that the SEMAC-1 was scheduled to start the 164 kilometre shallow water pipelay component of the GEP installation in the coming weeks. This work includes laying the first 18 kilometre section of 42-inch diameter pipe through Darwin Harbour from Middle Arm.

“The gas export pipeline will deliver gas and some condensate from our offshore central processing facility to the Ichthys LNG Project onshore facilities at Bladin Point near Darwin so that it can be processed for export,” Mr Bon said.

“The shallow water pipelay work means we are starting to physically connect our home base in Darwin to the Ichthys Field where our semi-submersible offshore facilities will be permanently moored for the life of the Project.”

Working from east to west in Darwin Harbour, the SEMAC-1 will first feed pipe to the Project’s landfall site for a three kilometre shore-pull. This will enable the SEMAC-1 to connect the offshore component of the pipeline to the onshore component, which will stretch about seven kilometres from the beach valve at Middle Arm to the Bladin Point onshore processing facilities.

 The SEMAC-1 is scheduled to be in Darwin Harbour for about four weeks. In total, the 164 kilometre shallow water pipelay installation is scheduled to take about 80 days. Once completed, the SEMAC-1 will transfer work to Saipem’s deep water installation vessel, Castorone, which will lay the remaining 718 kilometres of pipe to the Ichthys Field.

International oil and gas contracting service provider Saipem is the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contractor for the Ichthys LNG Project’s GEP. Mr Bon said that Saipem had significant experience in this area, including on similar large diameter pipeline projects.

“In line with INPEX requirements, Saipem has put in place stringent safety and environmental procedures. They are committed to working safely with commercial and recreational harbour users,” Mr Bon said.  

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