In 2014, Spiecapag, the specialised subsidiary of Entrepose Contracting (Vinci Construction), completed the construction of 450 km of pipelines over a distance of 300 km in Papua New Guinea for ExxonMobil - an exceptional project in an exceptional country.
The oil major is the leader of the PNG LNG (Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas) consortium, which is investing $19 billion in a new gas field located at an altitude of 2,800 metres in the mountainous Hides region. Ultimately, the resulting gas production will double the country's GDP.
Spiecapag's assignment was to build a pipeline to transport the gas to the Gulf of Papua, where an offshore pipeline will take it to a liquefaction plant in the country's capital, Port Moresby. The project was to be completed in just four years, in jungle with torrential rainfall and no pre-existing access infrastructure. Spiecapag rose to the full range of technical and above all logistical and human challenges to carry out the tough project in a remote area and help make it possible to start gas production five months ahead of the original schedule.
A temporary town in the middle of the jungle
Because there was no transport infrastructure in the isolated region to start with, a road had to be built through tropical forest in swampy and hilly terrain. The "swamp team" crews used materials from "pinnacles", the area's only hard rock formations, as fill for the road. In the mountains a cable car was used to carry out construction on the steepest slopes (of up to nearly 40°). The largest pipes, with a length of 12 metres, were brought in, in groups of three, by trucks that were choreographed to avoid traffic jams in the jungle. The pipes were then welded together, the welds inspected and the pipes painted to avoid corrosion. Lastly, the trench was dug and the pipes placed in it by sidebooms, the cranes typically used in pipelaying. Once these operations were completed, the ground was restored and nature soon reclaimed the territory. As a rule it takes fewer than six months for vegetation to return after the worksite is completed.
During the works, which got under way at the end of 2010, the teams were housed in temporary facilities - eight camps that were set up and dismantled as the project proceeded. Each of these villages accommodated about 1,500 people and had its own heliport, restaurant, clinic, water treatment units and even small pig farm. Under the orders of a camp manager, a team of 150 to 200 people – including cooks, pastry cooks, waiters, cleaning and laundry staff, joiners, carpenters, electricians, doctors and safety and security staff - provided essential services. All camp waste was sorted, crushed and taken to appropriate treatment centres or incinerated on the spot.
How many living species inhabit our planet?
Answers to this question can be found in Papua New Guinea, which is covered by uninterrupted forest from the mangroves to the high mountains, and whose northern coast lies within the Coral Triangle. Four-fifths of the world's biodiversity has not yet been described. The Planet Reviewed, the French National Natural History Museum's programme of major nature expeditions, sent a mission to Papua New Guinea in 2012 and 2013. Entrepose Contracting was a sponsor of the operation.
Researchers, technicians, amateur naturalists and students from 21 countries, assisted by Papuan para-ecologists, collected a large volume of specimens and data.
· 5% of the world's species live in Papua New Guinea
· 60% of the land species collected are new to science
· 500 to 1,000 new species were identified in the sea, including corals, crustaceans, shellfish, fish and algae.
· 16 plants, 5 mammals (including 2 marsupials), 11 lizards, 60 frogs, and 1 bat were discovered by the worksite teams along the pipeline route.
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