Successful repairs to critical gas pipelines

Excavators striking our gas pipes and causing major damage is an on-going issue with all underground utility owners and operators. Such strikes are not only costly to fix but potentially deadly.

Although both critical Intermediate Pressure (IP) steel pipelines – one on our Hawke’s Bay network and the other in Wellington – sustained substantial damage with large gouges, dents and cracks, thankfully both maintained their integrity and there were no injuries or outages. The third-party operators were very lucky considering these pipelines operate at more than four-times the pressure of a car tyre and collectively feed over 6,000 customers with gas.

While the repairs required cutting out and replacing the damaged sections of gas pipeline, shutting them down and cutting customers’ supply simply wasn’t an option. 

How we did it

Our Engineering Team developed designs to bypass the damaged sections of pipes to allow for gas to continue flowing for customers while new sections of pipe were installed.

Using these designs, our Service Delivery Team worked closely with our contractors to price, plan and carry out the repairs. The repairs weren’t straight forward as they required welding, cutting and flow-stopping on the live pipelines. You can see in the photos below some of the specialty equipment used to undertake these tasks.

Both repairs were delivered within the set time frames, budgets and to the expected high quality.

Our team continues to work on educating excavating companies about the importance of knowing what’s below before using a digger. 

Digging near power cables and gas mains

If you’re doing any type of digging in the road, roadside or within properties, you must find out where underground electricity cables, gas pipes and other underground utilities are first. You can do this by contacting beforeUdig

BeforeUdig forganises for underground utility owners, including Powerco, to send you free plans of where the gas pipes, electricity cables and other underground services are. 

Always have plans before you excavate but don’t rely on plans alone as services can shift underground. 

Make sure underground services are located and marked out by using a service locator business (please note that this will incur a cost).

Always carefully hand dig first to expose cables and pipes. Hitting an underground gas pipe or electricity cable can cause serious injury or death.

If you can’t find Powerco cables and pipes, call us for help on 0800 769 372. Find out more here.

A man in PPE working on a new gas pipe in the ground.

Above: The bypass and stopples set-up.

Below: The new pipe wrapped.

A yellow gas pipe in the ground.

Close up of a gas pipe with a gauge out of it.

Above: Damage to a pipe by the excavator.