Print

Pipe dream becomes a reality

12 November 2007

A £1.4bn project to create a massive pipeline capable of carrying a fifth of the natural gas needed by Britain has been completed in South Wales.

The 300km pipeline, which runs from Pembrokeshire to Gloucestershire, was officially opened by UK Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks who marked the occasion by opening a valve into the final section of the line at Felindre, near Swansea.

A team of over 50 people from Capita Symonds’ Manchester office – led by Director Karl Johnson – provided full project services for the pipeline’s new 200km sections - Milford Haven to Aberdulais and Felindre to Brecon - which have now been connected to the existing gas network to create the huge link between England and Wales.

The Capita Symonds team worked across disciplines such as project management; contract / commercial management; Quality and Health & Safety Auditing; environmental / archaeological advisors; land liaison; and programme management.

Starting next year, double-hulled vessels - dubbed ‘Q Max’ tankers - will take Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from Qatar’s titanic North Field - the world’s biggest liquid natural gas reservoir - to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire at a temperature of -165C (this keeps the fuel as a dense liquid, making it easier to transport).

The Welsh terminals will then regasify the LNG and send it through the pipeline under high pressure to tens of thousands of businesses and households across Britain and Europe. National Grid says the scheme, which has taken three years to finish, is needed to cope with growing demand.

The fact that the pipeline has made 140 river and water crossings, passed under 19 railway lines and 216 roads - two of them motorways – highlights how vast a project this has been.

Karl Johnson says: “It’s been a mammoth project with over 2,000 people involved from a variety of companies and disciplines. The fact that the pipeline has made 140 river and water crossings, passed under 19 railway lines and 216 roads - two of them motorways – highlights how vast a project this has been. The whole team can be immensely proud - it's a tremendous engineering achievement.”

Mike Nuttall, Capita Symonds Project Services Manager, credits the effort of the Capita Symonds team at the project’s initial stages as being vital to the programme’s ultimate success. Mike says: “The project wouldn’t have been successfully completed without the superb pre-construction work undertaken by the whole team.”

The project has also resulted in two significant archaeological finds - a Roman road near Yscir, west of Brecon, and a possible Bronze Age canoe near Milford Haven.