From rust to robust: Nuflow Manawatu repairs corroded pipes on tanker terminal project
Port Taranaki is an industrial port complex in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Part of what makes up this valuable infrastructure asset is the Newton King Tanker Terminal (NKTT), a dedicated energy wharf that serves the petrochemical industry. Due to the nature of the terminal’s imports and exports, fire safety procedures are critical. That’s why, in 2020, when their existing saltwater fire protection system started to deteriorate, a decision was made to upgrade it to a top-of-the-line freshwater system.
These kinds of systems are commonly used in marine and offshore facilities, like oil platforms, ships, and coastal installations. They pipe the water through a network of dedicated piping and nozzles to quickly suppress fires in the event of an emergency.
After two years of detailed planning, the project to transition the system from saltwater to freshwater began in August, 2022. This considerable undertaking took $16 million and over 100 contracted professionals across a range of industries. Nuflow Manawatu was among these experienced specialists, and their work on a corroded steel pipeline saved project managers from a whole lot of headaches. Read on to get the full details of their work on this massive project.
Multi-million dollar upgrades to tanker terminal’s fire protection system
The Newton Tanker Terminal is significant in terms of the Taranaki economy, estimated to contribute approximately $550 million NZD annually. It handles an array of bulk liquids and petrochemical products like oils, liquefied petroleum gas and methanol, which are transported from onshore and offshore sites throughout the area, then pumped to specialised load-out facilities.
To do this effectively and safely, the terminal aims to operate to the highest possible safety standards, with frequent audits often placing them in the top 10% worldwide. That’s why their berths are kitted out with high-quality monitoring, safety, and firefighting systems that establish safe and efficient operations.
So, when it looked like their fire protection system was on its way out, remedying this was a high priority. Establishing the new freshwater system would not only offer ways to keep the hull temperature low in the event of a fire, it would also require less maintenance and extend the lifetime of the assets without saltwater corrosion.
Putting this system in place meant installing monitors, valves, pumps, dual electronic controls, and a firefighting foam system, as well as refurbishing a freshwater tank and existing steel pipelines. The latter is where Nuflow Manawatu’s capabilities came into their own, mitigating the need to spend extra money and time replacing the corroded pipes.
Repurposed pipelines need Nuflow’s attention
Part of the plan to create the new system involved repurposing white oil pipelines and turning them into fireman pipelines that fed water cannons in case of emergency. However, they came to realise that steel pipe corrosion was causing metal pipe rust to enter the ocean via the cannons. Not only that, the pipe corrosion would likely cause leaks, cracks and other issues, meaning that repairs wouldn’t be far down the line.
The problem was the position of these corroded pipes made them hard to access. Replacing them would have meant major works that extended the project timeline and even require shutting off certain sections of the terminal. This could have prevented fuel unloading, which could have impacted supply in the region. So, the team knew a replacement was not possible.
Luckily, one of the contractors onsite was a Nuflow Engineering Partner, so they knew exactly who to get in touch with. Nuflow Manawatu was ready to go in no time.
Limited pipe access calls for a different approach to relining
The team began with a CCTV pipe inspection to assess the full scope of what they needed to do. They identified that corrosion had impacted 120m of 250mm pipework, and 36m of 300mm pipework, and that both would need some water jet cleaning. Plus, because of the inaccessibility, they realised that traditional cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) repair would not be possible throughout the whole pipeline, so they required an alternate solution.
Nucoat is Nuflow’s spray-in-place pipe (SIPP) technology that allows technicians to spray epoxy resin on the interior of a pipe. Fast curing, it will hold its own weight without needing a bladder. With its suitability for all kinds of pipes, including high pressure ones, and its capabilities around steel pipe corrosion protection, it was well suited for the new firewater line.
Led by Nuflow Manawatu’s head reliner Matthew, the team got to work applying the solutions. Over certain bends and sections they used CIPP techniques, but overall Nucoat was the primary restoration method. Its fast application made it easy to complete the job within the tight constraints of the project timeline, and after only two weeks on site everything was finalised.
Nuflow’s work keeps project on time and on track
The project managers were thrilled with Nuflow Manawatu’s work. Everything was completed on budget, on time, and in compliance with safety standards. They were also pleased that the terminal could remain in full operation while the repairs took place, and that everything could keep running smoothly. The work needed to finalise the upgrade was done on time, and as of December 21st, the new freshwater firewater system is now in operation.
According to Infrastructure General Manager, John Maxwell, “The co-ordination between the various parties has been fantastic and enabled the project to come in on time and on budget, and we thank them for all their hard work.”
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