13/06/2008 - 12:58

Apache, Clough team up on Varanus

13/06/2008 - 12:58

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Apache Energy Ltd has hired Clough Ltd to help with essential repairs at its Varanus Island gas plant as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry calls for more accurate and timely information to aid affected businesses.

Apache Energy Ltd has hired Clough Ltd to help with essential repairs at its Varanus Island gas plant as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry calls for more accurate and timely information to aid affected businesses.

The US-based Apache said today it continued to increase the number of personnel on Varanus Island to undertake integrity checks and was gaining more confidence in its original forecast that there would be a return to partial production within a couple of months.

Up to 200 terrajoules of gas per day could be returned to the market if Apache is able to restart one of the two processing plants on the island, which produces about 370 terrajoules of gas per day at full capacity.

Managing Director Tim Wall said that the company had successfully sourced piping material needed for the repairs. Most of the pipe was being sourced from within Australia and it had sourced valving from the UK. The materials would arrive soon.

He said that more than 140 people would be working on repairs at Varanus Island by early next week.

A Clough project team, which had been working on a compression upgrade project on the island will be reassigned and will form the core of the repair team assisting Apache
personnel.

"Having a skilled project team already established and familiar with the plant enables us to provide strong and rapid support to Apache in its efforts to get the plant operational as quickly as possible", stated Clough's Chief Executive Officer John Smith.

Clough will undertake survey/laser scan and assist in developing the scope of repair work.

Engineering and procurement will be provided from the Perth office.

The Clough appointment comes as CCIWA called on the state government and energy suppliers today to provide worried businesses adversely affected by the gas outage with up to date information.

CCIWA chief executive James Pearson said information given to industry since the June 3 explosion at Apache Energy Ltd's Varanus Island gas processing had been vague, but stopped short of directly criticising any specific company involved.

The state's domestic gas supply has been slashed by a third since the incident, with 14 per cent of companies reporting they have shut down and others forced to lay off staff.

When asked if CCI was concerned with Alinta's allocation of current gas supplies, which has been likened to a lottery, Mr Pearson would not comment.

Instead, he said existing market structures had to be respected in such critical situations.

"What business is telling us is that they need to know as much information as possible and what their options in accessing gas and accessing electricity are," Mr Pearson said.

"Once they know they can make better business decisions."

The state government has formed a coordination group to deal with Alinta in regards to WA's gas allocation. Alinta is a member of CCIWA.

Federal energy minister Martin Ferguson will meet with state deputy premier Eric Ripper tomorrow in a bid to address what he described as a very difficult situation.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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