Canada and Australia are remarkably similar countries. Characteristics such as geography, politics, native land issues, and population are notably similar, while the climate may be considered the most obvious difference between the two countries. The pipeline industries are similar as well, but yet very different in some respects too. This presentation will explore some of the similarities and differences between the pipeline industries in both countries.
The focus of the discussion will be mainly on long-distance, cross-country gas transmission pipelines. The author of this paper spent 4 years working for TransCanada PipeLines in Calgary in a pipeline design and construction capacity, and has spent 2.5 years working for an engineering consultant firm, Egis Consulting Australia, in a variety of roles on oil and gas projects in Australia.
Topics to be addressed include the general pipeline industry organisation and the infrastructure in both countries. The history of the development of the pipeline industry in each country provides insight as to why each is organised the way it is today. While neither system is “better” than the other, there are certain advantages to Canada’s system (nationally regulated) over Australia’s system (currently state-regulated).
The design codes of each country will be compared and contrasted. The pipeline design codes alternate in level of detail and strictness of requirements. Again, it cannot be said that one is “better” than the other, although in some cases one country’s code is much more useful than the other for pipeline designers.
Construction techniques affected by the terrain and climate in each country will be explored. Typical pipeline construction activities are well known to pipeliners all over the globe: clear and grade, trench, string pipe, weld pipe, coat welds, lower in, backfill and clean up. The order of these activities may change, depending on the terrain and the season, and the methods of completing each activity will also depend on the terrain and the season, however the principles remain the same. Australia and Canada differ in aspects such as climate, terrain and watercourse type, and therefore each country has developed methods to handle these issues.
Finally, some of the current and future opportunities for the 21st century for the pipeline industry in both countries will be discussed. This discussion will include items such as operations and maintenance issues, Canada’s northern development opportunities, and Australia’s national gas grid possibilities.