WORK on the deepwater pipelay component of the INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG project got started in early February, carried out by Italy-based Saipem.

Saipem’s deepwater installation vessel Castorone will lay 718 kilometres of the 42-inch diameter gas export pipeline, after its semi-submersible pipelay barge the Semac 1 completed the 164 kilometre shallow water section in November 2014.

The remaining seven kilometres of the gas export pipeline is onshore, incorporating the beach valve and the final section to the onshore LNG facilities site at Bladin Point near Darwin.

Ichthys LNG project offshore director Claude Cahuzac said the project was closer to connecting its onshore facilities to the Ichthys field, where its offshore facilities were to be moored for the 40-plus year life of the project.

“A significant amount of work has been safely completed to get to this stage of pipeline installation,” he said.

“This includes a range of activities in and around Darwin Harbour such as dredging, landfall civil works, rock quarrying and transportation, and marine cable crossings.”

Deepwater pipelay is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

When completed, the Ichthys LNG Project GEP will be the fifth longest subsea pipeline in the world and the longest in the southern hemisphere.