Pipeline expansion plans

THE owners of the Goldfields Gas Transmission Pipeline have agreed to invest $11 million in a new compressor station to expand the capacity of the pipeline.

The upgrade will enable the pipeline to supply gas to a new power station currently under construction at Esperance.

The investment comes at a time when Epic Energy, owner of the Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline, is locked in a dispute with the State Government over gas tariffs, which has stalled expansion plans.

Goldfields Gas Transmission Pty Ltd is also seeking to modify the regulations governing its activities.

It formally applied in March to the National Competition Council for revocation of coverage of the pipeline under the national access code.

GGT general manager David King said the company would prefer to be regulated under an existing State agreement.

“When the code was introduced, the GGP automatically became covered by the code, without a proper test of the criteria for coverage,” Mr King said.

“As we now know, this situation has created significant, ongoing problems.

“The overlap of the code and the State agreement creates a duplicated regulatory process that is unwieldy, legally uncertain, unnecessarily costly and leads to a distorted market outcome in regional energy markets.”

Mr King said the new compressor station would increase the capacity of the gas pipeline by about 10 per cent to 108 terajoules per day.

As well as feeding the new gas-fired power station at Esperance, the upgrade would create spare capacity of up to five terajoules.

Mr King said the new compressor station would be built at Paraburdoo and followed a similar expansion in 2001 at Wiluna.

He said the 1380 kilometre pipeline, which runs from Dampier to Kambalda, could ultimately support eight compressors, lifting capacity to 170 terajoules per day.

Mr King noted that energy demand in the Goldfields had grown less than expected.

The developers of the Esperance power station started work on a 340km gas pipeline from Kambalda to Esperance in May.

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