Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline project manager Alinta Asset Management said it had successfully completed the difficult process of live welding four sections of the existing pipeline - laying the groundwork for vital looping. By achieving this, new pipeline loops can be tied in while maintaining the flow of gas to the pipeline's customers, or shippers. "We are pleased to reach another milestone in this significant project, which is still running to schedule and on budget," said Mr Stuart Hohnen, Executive Chairman of DBP. He commented that the completion of four hot taps in such a short period - while at the same time carrying out complex tie-in work at Compressor Station 10 - was a major achievement in coordination by all concerned. DBP praised the cooperation of the pipeline's shippers in ensuring that the throughput of the pipeline could be reduced for the short period of time - less than 24 hours in total - taken to perform the hot taps. "Shippers have responded cooperatively to our requests for reduction in gas-take on the few occasions where we require reduced flows to enable us to perform tie-in work directly on the pipeline," said Mr Hohnen. "They are appreciative of the fact that a few hours interruption to normal flow rates are necessary to achieve significant long-term benefits from the expansion project." Looking at the expansion project as a whole, progress continues to be made on the southern looping section, south of Compressor Station 10 near Kwinana. Work on this stage of the expansion project is expected to be completed in May 2006. Work has also commenced on the northern looping project, south of Compressor Station 8 in the Mid-west of the state. The Stage 4 expansion project is a $430 million commitment by the pipeline's owners to increase the capacity of the DBNGP by around 125 terajoules a day through the addition of 8 new compression units and over 200km of pipeline looping. Stage 4A of the project - the addition of two new compression units - was completed ahead of schedule and to budget in January. The project will see additional capacity become available to shippers in stages between now and early 2007.
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