Western Australian pipeline schedule achievable.

The owner-operator of the A$400 Gas to the Goldfields pipeline in Western Australia said on Friday the May 31 completion date was still possible despite a strike that has halted work on the project for two weeks. Bruce Ride, manager of the Goldfields Gas Transmission (GGT) joint venture, said the first critical deadline for supplying gas to the north-west town of Newman by the end of February was likely to be extended to early April. However, he said it was not impossible to meet the May 31 deadline for completion of welding on the main line, providing the strike by more than 300 construction workers ended soon. Ride was responding to comments by Australian Manufacturing Workers Union construction organiser Colin Saunders who said this week the completion deadline was now impossible to achieve. Work on the 1,400 km pipeline -- to carry gas from the North-West Shelf to the gold and nickel mining district of Kalgoorlie -- stopped on January 10 due to a dispute over safety, work conditions and bonuses. Ride said a further six weeks work was required after the completion of welding for pressure testing, installation of other facilities and commissioning.

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