Many people and industries have been affected by the flooding in Queensland, including the pipeline industry.

There are media reports that Envestra’s Wide Bay Pipeline (Gladstone to Bundaberg and Maryborough) has been seriously damaged and supply has been curtailed, although it is not clear whether the pipeline has been completely shut down.  Some early reports implied a major leak and shutdown but an Envestra press release today provided a little more information and implied that at least some pressure is being maintained.  Nevertheless both large and small customers are being seriously affected.

The location and nature of the failure is not yet clear, with reported locations varying from the Burnett River crossing (just outside Bundaberg) to more than 100 km north, or even somewhat to the south.  The phrase “the fog of war” comes to mind, and this is just a civil inconvenience.  In due course it will be interesting to learn more about this failure, partly out of voyeuristic curiosity and partly so that perhaps lessons can be learned by the whole industry.  Meanwhile, best of luck to the Envestra team sorting it out.

I have also been sent pictures of very large pipe (approx DN 1000) draped across a flood plain with a bunch of nasty looking kinks in it.  Clearly one of the current big-inch projects in Queensland caught short with pipe strung and welded when the floods came.  Bitter experience has lead a number of people who have been around the industry for a long time to believe that the best way to break a drought or bring on a flood is to build a pipeline, and now it has happened again.

(Since I don’t know which pipeline and don’t have approval I feel constrained to not publish the photos that “fell off the back of a truck”.)

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