Marine tunnel breaks through on schedule

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11 March 2014

A major milestone for Santos’ Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (GLNG) project in Queensland, Australia has been achieved with technical assistance from GHD, one of the world’s leading engineering, architecture and environmental consulting companies.

Ten months of tunnelling for the Santos GLNG Narrows Crossing project have come to an end, with the tunnel boring machine (TBM) breaking through to the reception shaft on Curtis Island.

GHD is acting as the Owner’s Engineer and providing Resident Engineering services to Santos GLNG for the Narrows Crossing Project in Gladstone. The 4.3 km, 3.4 m diameter segmentally lined Narrows Crossing tunnel will house a portion of the 420 km pipeline that will deliver natural gas from the Surat and Bowen basins to the gas liquefaction processing facility on Curtis Island.

Brendan Henry, GHD’s Project Director, says, “This is a huge milestone for Santos GLNG. The team successfully negotiated challenging tunnelling conditions to bring the tunnel in on schedule. The TBM is now being disassembled, and the tunnel cleaned, flooded and prepared for pushing through the gas pipeline.”

“The project is located within a marine environment, and a key challenge was the mixed ground conditions at the tunnelling face. The ground conditions were mainly clay and soft alluvium, and when the tunnel approached Curtis Island, it changed to a formation of hard clay and rock with some gravel at the interface.”

GHD has provided a broad range of services to the project to date, including technical review of all design including the tunnel lining, alignment and geotechnical parameters; analysis of tunnel decline and reception shaft; risk identification assessment; and input into inspection and construction methodology. The company also supplied a full-time Resident Engineering team on site. GHD had earlier completed the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the pipeline for Santos GLNG.

Mark Read, GHD’s Market Leader – Energy & Resources, says, “We are proud to help Santos GLNG and its partners deliver this complex project that will boost Australia’s role as a global gas exporter.”

This TBM project for Santos GLNG is in addition to other landmark projects involving GHD’s tunnelling team, including Australian-first TBM use in mining for Anglo American’s Grosvenor coal project and the Brisbane City Council’s Legacy Way road project linking the city’s western suburbs with the Inner City Bypass.

View of the tunnel

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For more information about this release, contact Kirill Reztsov

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