Spiecapag makes its mark in Australian pipeline history

In 2023, Spiecapag celebrates 100 years of pipeline heritage, and this year the company celebrated the first of the projects it has worked on in the 40 years since it has dug, blasted and horizontally drilled pipelines in Australia.

The Australian Pipeliner spoke with Spiecapag Managing Director John Walsh to talk about some of the biggest milestones of 40 years in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Can you give us some of the highlights of the projects Spiecapag has been working on in this region over the past 40 years?

JW: Of course. This year we are celebrating 40 years of the Sydney-Newcastle pipeline. The project is memorable as the first project in Australia, and one of the innovations of this project was to minimize the environmental impacts on the Hawkesbury River crossing.

And there were plenty of other crossings: tunnels, minor river crossings, highway crossings, road crossings and even cattle track crossings. Many people working on the project will remember the rocky sections and some of those steep sections with big boulders to avoid – and the union activism.

And that’s how the work of Spiecapag in Australia started. Perhaps the most memorable project of the 1990s over a decade was the Tenneco Pipeline (South West Queensland Pipeline), with its 756 km of pipeline across the country, including hundreds of km of hard rock. He is wearing some similarities to SEA Gas, which at 687 km was another long-distance gas pipeline, built in the early 2000s.

Additional customer demand for gas meant that 340 km of the SEA pipeline was extended during construction to install twin 14 inch (355 mm) diameter pipelines, and this was a project for which we were the EPC. . These two projects were real tests of our ability to manage the logistics of our remote operations well and good examples of the importance of working with local traditional landowners to protect cultural heritage.

The 2000s brought the second of our projects to PNG, after Kutubu in the 1990s – the more than 600 km of large diameter pipelines for the PNG-LNG project led by ExxonMobil. It was a monumental test of our logistics and our operation in difficult and variable conditions. Perhaps a lasting benefit of these projects is that it seems like everyone in PNG knows how to pronounce Spiecapag (no need for our “Spee-cah-pag” mugs there!).

And very soon after this project went live, we started working on the Eastern Goldfields pipeline for APA Group – the first of many projects for APA. At 293km it might have been shorter than the others I mentioned but at 12 hours northeast of Perth it was really remote. Here again, logistics played a key role in delivering ahead (maintaining an LTIFR at 0), supporting production of 5 km / day on average with a single spread, and as often, very rapid mobilization.

Many of the projects built by Spiecapag have been delivered through Joint Ventures (JVs) with other companies. Is this also the way of the future?

Yes, and over the years Spiecapag has long worked alongside JV partners – in Australia and internationally. Some joint ventures have been formed to deliver a single project to clients, but many have created lasting partnerships, where we have shared much more than the risks and rewards of the project, but also long term client relationships, skilled workers and even The direction.

The oldest joint venture partner we have had was Lucas Engineering and Construction, a relationship built over decades that resulted in a marriage of the companies a few years ago. And in doing so, we have also added another very strong string to our bow with the arrival of our horizontal directional drilling (HDD) company, HDI Lucas, which has achieved many first, longer, and the biggest in the hard drive world, both in Australia and abroad.

So yes, partnerships and joint ventures are certainly a big part of how we work today, and also part of our vision for the future. In this way, we focus on being the best at what Spiecapag does – pipelines and facilities – and we work hand in hand with partners who bring additional expertise so that our clients can carry out more complex projects. while reducing costs and having an owner-contractor interface.

Some recent examples of these types of joint ventures include our recent project with Seymour Whyte to deliver the Mardi to Warnervale water pipe project for the NSW Central Coast Council, and another with Menard to help a large mining client on the island. by Lihir in PNG.

The Spiecapag team on the Eastern Goldfields Pipeline project.

We have seen that Spiecapag recently fielded a team at the Brisbane Marathon Festival John and this is not the first time. Can you tell us what this means to you?

On a personal level, I must admit that I love to run. But that’s not the only reason we’re fielding a team for the marathon. Since our first edition in 2018, the Spiecapag team has raised over $ 30,000 for charities, including Companions in construction and Queensland motor neuron disease.

In addition, each year, we see our partners and our subscribers getting involved and also supporting causes, which shows a great team spirit. These good causes have really added goal running for us – and there is the added benefit of being a great team building exercise too, with a noticeable boost in camaraderie and a drive to do better in the team.

And this desire to do better, to do good, has influenced the way we run the business. We have a very active Green team across the business, resulting in environmental improvements at all levels of the business and across our operations here in Australia and the region. This combines well with research and development from our parent company Vinci Group to reduce our carbon footprint, and means we look forward to a very bright future for the company. And we’re not unique: so many other sectors of the industry are doing the same, so we look forward to sharing these successes to build a better world together.

For more information, visit the Spiecapag website.

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