Gas Pipeline to the West

RPS appointed by Bord Gáis Eireann to provide detailed design, planning, construction and commissioning supervision of over 300km of 750mm (30"), 85bar gas transmission pipeline.

 

The Gas Pipeline to the West was successfully constructed on programme and within budget during the summer of 2002. It connects the natural hub at Ballough AGI in North Co. Dublin to Goat Island AGI in Co. Limerick and brings natural gas to towns in Counties Meath, Westmeath, Roscommon, Galway, Clare and Limerick.

The pipeline completes the national gas transmission ring main comprising the Gas Pipeline to the West and the Cork to Dublin Pipeline which is now supplied by the indigenous Corrib Gas field and two Scottish gas interconnections into Ballough AGI.

The Gas Pipeline to the West won the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland Award for Excellence in 2003.

Key details

Project name

Gas Pipeline to the West

Client

Bord Gáis Eireann

Location

Ireland

Services provided

  • EIA
  • Project Management
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Detailed design
  • Planning
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Construction supervision
  • Landowner liaison
  • Commissioning

Challenge

Gas Pipeline to the West had a number of major challenges. Firstly, it was the longest pipeline in the history of the Irish state at 350km from Gormanston Beach in Co. Meath to Bruff in Co. Limerick. This required the deployment of three multinational contractors, employing some 1,800 staff, from France, Italy and Ireland. Summer 2002 was one of the wettest summers of that decade. This required the rapid construction of temporary timber roads with bog mats and sheet piles for lateral support to make the project virtually independent of weather.

Crossing seven counties, 450 roads, railway lines, canals and rivers, including the Shannon Estuary, and the land of over 1,300 landowners, the planning for this project was extremely complex. The scale and diverse landscapes along the route also presented a number of challenges for our designer team.

There were a number of very challenging ecological issues with Corncrake habitat in the Shannon, bats in Galway and Bottle nosed Dolphins in the Shannon Estuary.

Gas to the west 2.jpg

Solution

RPS delivered for Bord Gáis Eireann 350km of 750mm (30"), 85bar gas transmission pipeline. Construction of the Gas Pipeline to the West included over 450 road, rail, canal and river crossings including crossings of the River Shannon at Athlone and the Shannon Estuary (approximately 2km, max. depth 44m). Crossing techniques employed ranged from open cut to thrust and auger boring to directional drilling and mini-tunnelling. Construction was also completed successfully through difficult ground conditions (bog and rock) and environmentally sensitive areas with minimum impact. This at times required the use of specialised and innovative techniques to enable construction to proceed on programme. Automatic welding of gas pipelines was first used successfully in Ireland on the Gas Pipeline to the West.

A comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement was also completed by RPS for the project and was approved by the Department of Public Enterprise under Section 8 of the Gas Act. Despite the large number of landowners (over 1,300), there were very few major objections and the project secured full planning approval after an Oral Hearing held in 2001.

Project statistics

350
Kilometres of 750mm (30"), 85bar gas transmission pipeline.
450
Road, rail, canal and river crossings.
1,300
Landowners consulted
1,800
strong multinational team of contractors from across Europe

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