Despite BP dropping out of planned exploration in the Great Australian Bight, Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbour has already received an infrastructure boost with Flinders Ports’ new $8 million bunkering facility.

Marine supply base launch. Image courtesy of BP.

Marine supply base launch. Image courtesy of BP.

Leading South Australian port operator, Flinders Ports, teamed up with oil and gas company BP to establish a state-of-the-art fuel bunkering facility that would support BP’s future exploration of the Great Australian Bight.

Although BP announced it will not go ahead with its drilling program off South Australia’s coast, the upgraded facility has provided jobs for the local infrastructure industry and will allow vessels up to 120m in length to dock and refuel in Port Adelaide.

While initially designed with BP specifications in mind, fuel bunkering facilities like this one are commonly used infrastructure at ports around Australia.

Stewart Lammin, General Manager at Flinders Ports said, “We understand and accept BP’s decision not to proceed with their drilling program in the Great Australian Bight. Flinders Ports will continue to monitor the market for potential new customers that require bunkering as part of their port services.”

Re-energising an unused berth

Maritime Constructions was awarded the construction contract for the project and began works in May 2016.

Works included reactivating the existing berth, known as N-Berth, which had been mothballed for the last 10 years.

Two new strong points made from primary steel and featuring fibre reinforced plastic for the walkways, were added to the current berth and the facility is connected to the nearby Largs North Terminal via two new underground pipelines.

A dedicated bunkering pipeline is 1km in length and 300 nominal bore, with a platform supply vessel flow rate of 2,400L per minute. The bunkering facilities at Largs North Terminal also include new dedicated filling pumps with full automation, metering skid and bunker hoses.

Supporting the local industry

More than 20 local jobs have been created for the various stages of the project, including construction works and pipeline design.

While previously vessels that needed to refuel in Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbour were supplied by a fuel truck, this new facility allows several more vessels to dock and refuel in Port Adelaide each week.

Mr Lammin said that not only had the new facility supported Port Adelaide suppliers, but it had also had positive flow-on benefits for the local economy.

“New contracts are scarce so the upgrade of this berth is an exciting development and has provided a welcome boost for local suppliers and business confidence,” Mr Lammin said.

The facility is expected to be complete in late 2016.

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