First stage of gas pipeline finishes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 May, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 May, 1994, 12:00am

THE first stage in the main pipeline that will bring natural gas from the Yacheng field, off the southern coast of Hainan Island, to Hong Kong is expected to be completed today.

The pipeline is the second longest submerged pipeline in the world and has been laid at a record rate.

The last of the more than 57,000 pipes that make up the 800 km line will be put in place by SEMAC I, a purpose-built barge that constructed the line.

Gas from the find will be used at the Black Point power station being built at Castle Peak by a partnership of China Light & Power Co and multi-national Exxon.

Work on the pipeline started at the beginning of December last year, and SEMAC 1 has been laying pipe at the rate of up to 6.5 km a day.

The barge was towed from the North Sea late last year, and narrowly missed disaster when negotiating the shipping lanes off Hong Kong. A cargo ship turned into the tow line between the deep water tug which was pulling SEMAC I, and came within 20 feet of a serious collision.

The final stage which will connect the main pipe to the receiving station for Black Point will be carried out by another vessel owned by the same joint venture that laid the main section - European Marine Contractors, which is owned by Saipem of Italy and Brown and Root (UK). This is expecteacity used to produce electricity for Hong Kong.

The cost of gas to Black Point has not been revealed. The price that the consortium that developed the field agreed to pay the Chinese Government was the subject of stiff wrangling in 1987 between the authorities and the joint venture, which consisted of China National Offshore Oil Corp, Atlantic Richfield Corp and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration.

The price paid by the Black Point project will now be based on a formula, with a base price set in 1996 according to the cost of producing the gas. Adjustments will then be made annually based on movements of the US consumer price index, world coal prices and world oil prices.

How that converts into a price per cubic metre cannot be revealed said a spokesperson for China Light, although it was expected to be below the equivalent costs of oil or coal.

d to be completed by early next year.

When fully completed early next century, Black Point will have a capacity of 6,000 MW, although the first phase, due to be finished by 1999, will have a capacity of 2,500 MW, or about 25 per cent of the installed cap