APA starts work on WORM gas pipe project
Australian energy infrastructure company APA on August 2 started work on the Western Outer Ring Main (WORM) gas transmission project that will enable larger volumes of gas to be transported to Victoria’s Iona underground storage facility for use during peak demand.
“When completed, the WORM investment will also provide increased system capacity, reliability and security of supply to Victorian households for their heating, hot water and cooking, as well as for small and large businesses,” APA Group CEO Rob Wheals said. “A more secure supply of gas will also support more gas-fired power generation on days when it is needed, providing firming for renewable generation and further benefiting electricity customers.”
Wheals said that gas stored at the Iona underground storage facility is crucial in meeting peak gas demand in Victoria during winter with gas use sometimes three times higher in Victoria, compared to summer.
APA is also investing A$60mn ($42mn) right now to expand the South West Pipeline connecting the Iona underground storage facility to Melbourne’s CBD by about 8.6% through the installation of additional compression.
“We are investing right now to expand our east coast gas grid in Queensland and NSW to increase capacity by 25% ahead of winter in 2023 and 2024. Construction is underway on stage 1 and due to be delivered ahead of winter in 2023, while design and procurement for stage 2 has commenced which will be delivered ahead of winter 2024,” Wheals said.
“Expanding our east coast gas grid and making this A$270mn investment now, will provide a cost-effective, safe and reliable means of transporting Australian domestic gas from northern gas producers to southern markets, ahead of future potential shortfalls in 2023 forecast by the ACCC this week,” he added.
When complete, the WORM gas transmission pipeline will be 51km and provide a new high-pressure connection between existing pipelines at Plumpton in Melbourne’s west and Wollert in the north and includes a new additional compressor at the existing Wollert compressor station.
Construction on the WORM is expected to be complete in June 2023.