SEMAC-1 Pipelay Barge Prepares for Work on Inpex's Ichthys LNG Project

Japan's Inpex Corporation reported Monday that the Inpex-operated Ichthys LNG (liquefied natural gas) Project has welcomed the semisubmersible pipelay barge SEMAC-1 to the Northern Territory in Australia.

The arrival of the 616 foot- (188 meter-) long Saipem-operated vessel at the Darwin Outer Port Limits signals the start of important work on the Project’s 552 mile (889 kilometer) 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 102 mile (164 kilometer) shallow water pipelay component of the GEP installation in the coming weeks. This work includes laying the first 11 mile (18 kilometer) 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,” 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 semisubmersible 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 1.8 mile (3 kilometer) shore-pull. This will enable the SEMAC-1 to connect the offshore component of the pipeline to the onshore component, which will stretch about 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) 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 4 weeks. In total, the 102 mile (164 kilometer) 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 446 miles (718 kilometers) 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. 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,” Bon said.

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