RPS has played a major role in the Gorgon Project; providing a range of services, including environmental and subsea support and meteorological and oceanographic measurement programs for Australia’s biggest single resource project and one of the world’s largest natural gas projects.
Gorgon was constructed in a highly sensitive marine and terrestrial setting. Barrow Island is an A-Class Reserve and the marine facilities lie within a Marine Management Area. Even the subterranean ecosystems have high conservation significance. The project comprises a deep-water, gas gathering facility in the deep waters to the west of the island, flowlines to shore, shore-crossings, overland pipelines to the LNG processing facility, a MOF wharf and offloading jetty totalling over 4 km, and dredged shipping berths. The project also included upgrades to facilities on the island, domestic gas export lines and a supply bases.
RPS’ involvement encompassed strategic environmental advice, negotiation of the approval processes and schedule with State and Commonwealth environmental agencies, coordination and implementation of specialist baseline and construction monitoring studies, specialist modelling, management of budgets, contracts and schedules, input to design and operation, as well as supporting Chevron in preparing the initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Review and Management Program (ERMP) and the revised proposal’s Public Environmental Review (PER)documentation. RPS also coordinated and led the stakeholder engagement programs, prepared responses to stakeholder comments, and provided input to the EPA appeals and condition-setting processes, quarantine management, meteorological and oceanographic measurement and prediction.
RPS was involved in the planning and all phases of the approvals process, including coordinating one of the largest and most complex Environmental Impact Assessments ever undertaken in Australia.
Reflecting the complexity of the approvals process, RPS placed senior personnel in-house to form the environmental, safety and external affairs teams. The in-house team managed and coordinated the environmental approval process. At peak, there were thirteen seconded RPS personnel successfully operating as environmental approvals coordinators, environmental advisors, ecological study project managers, external affairs coordinators, risk and project HES advisors and quarantine advisors; forming the backbone of Chevron’s environmental and external affairs program.
RPS coordinated all of the ecological baseline studies undertaken in support of the Environmental, Social and Economic Review ESE and EIS/ERMP and prepared the related technical reports. Our EIA specialists were responsible for the majority of the key marine elements of the EIS/ERMP and provided specific expertise into the assessment and development of management plans for the key marine and terrestrial issues. RPS delivered the ecological risk assessment for potential oil spills associated with the revised and expanded development option.
RPS APASA provided specialised environmental modelling and analyses; hydrodynamic modelling, wave modelling, hydrotest discharge modelling, hydrocarbon spill modelling and risk assessments for various spill scenarios at multiple sites , including shallow and deep water locations. APASA also modelled the fate of sediments released during pipeline construction, and the fate of sediments released by different pipeline installation techniques, dredging and trenching.
Meteorological and oceanographic measurement programs
RPS MetOcean has provided several sophisticated meteorological and oceanographic measurement programs for Gorgon since 1982. These programs included reconnaissance current, wave and wind measurements during drilling operations, meteorology, numerous tidal predictions and analyses, design criteria, marine growth predictions and associated studies.
RPS has undertaken numerous geohazard identification projects, including regional and site specific studies for the Greater Gorgon wildcat well, in areas such as Geryon, Orthrus and Satyr.
RPS has been strongly involved with many of the geotechnical aspects of the Gorgon project having provided a range of services from offshore representation on geotechnical vessels through to an in-house project manager. RPS was responsible for geophysical investigation of pipeline routes, Geophysical investigation of field locations and geotechnical cores for structure foundation evaluation. This included the planning and executing a geophysical and geotechnical scope of work to include offshore geophysical and geotechnical surveys, shallow and deep water, data acquisition and analysis, laboratory testing and reporting.
RPS supplied a considerable amount of positioning personnel, including rig positioning surveyors, an Offshore Survey Manager, in-house Survey Project Manager and an Offshore Survey Vessel HES company representative.
Throughout the Gorgon project, RPS has provided a wide range of offshore geophysical support services including upstream remotely operated underwater vehicle ROV inspection, pipeline route, dredge and marine geophysical survey approvals and management.
We have also provided on-going support through the construction phase of the project.