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From rust to robust: Nuflow Manawatu repairs corroded pipes on tanker terminal project


When a $16 million upgrade was planned for Newton King Tanker Terminal’s fire protection system, Nuflow Manawatu’s spray-in-place pipe technology was critical in ensuring the project was completed on time, on budget, and in compliance with safety standards.

The Newton Tanker Terminal in New Plymouth, New Zealand plays a vital role in the petrochemical sector and in Taranaki’s economy, estimated to contribute approximately NZD$550 million annually. It handles an array of bulk liquids and petrochemical products like oils, liquefied petroleum gas and methanol, which are transported from onshore and offshore sites throughout the area, then pumped to specialised load-out facilities.

To do this effectively and safely, the terminal aims to operate to the highest possible safety standards, with frequent audits often placing them in the top 10 per cent worldwide. Its berths feature high-quality monitoring, safety, and firefighting systems that establish safe and efficient operations. The previous system was designed to fight potential fires by pumping seawater through a dedicated network of pipes, however the salt water had eroded the pipes over time and rendered the system non-compliant.

A repair and upgrade project was quickly greenlit to incorporate a top-of-the-line freshwater system. This would not only help keep hull temperatures low in the event of a fire, but also allow the system to avoid saltwater corrosion, requiring less maintenance and extending its lifetime.

Critical pipe repairs create a technical and costly challenge for the terminal

As part of the $16 million project, creating the new system involved repurposing steel white oil pipelines to feed fresh water into the fire suppression cannons during an emergency. However, in their current condition the corroded steel pipes would need repairs to prevent cracks and leaks and would inevitably feed rust through the cannons and into the ocean.

Unfortunately, the corroded pipes were positioned across the terminal in a such a way that they were hard to access and would require major works that would shut off key sections of the terminal. Repairs would ultimately prevent fuel unloading, which would impact supply in the region.

Luckily, one of the contractors onsite was a Nuflow Engineering Partner, so they knew exactly who to get in touch with.

Nuflow Manawatu delivers unique and much needed approach

When conventional pipe replacement was out of the question, Nuflow Manawatu was called. The team began with a CCTV pipe inspection and identified that corrosion had impacted 120m of 250mm pipework, and 36m of 300mm pipework.

The pipe’s inaccessibility meant Nuflow couldn’t rely on traditional cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) repair. However, it had another trick that would get the job done.

Nucoat, Nuflow’s spray-in-place pipe (SIPP) solution, features technology that allows technicians to spray epoxy resin on the interior of a pipe without needing a bladder or intrusive replacement work. Nucoat cures fast and can hold its own weight, making it the perfect solution for high pressure pipes used in fire suppression systems.

Nucoat’s fast and non-invasive application allowed the job to be completed in just two weeks without any obstructions to the terminal’s regular operations. Thanks to Nuflow’s fast acting and effective relining solution, the terminal was equipped with a new freshwater fire suppression system in 2022 that was more resistant to corrosion, able to handle greater water pressure and compliant with safety standards.

“The co-ordination between the various parties was fantastic,” infrastructure general manager John Maxwell said.

“It enabled the project to come in on time and on budget, and we thank them [Nuflow] for all their hard work.”

Bringing technology and innovation across New Zealand

With these latest developments now in use, Nuflow shows no signs of slowing down. The comapny’s research and development (R&D)teams continue to seek out more efficient ways to work, bringing solutions to customers and better workflows to franchise partners.

As Nuflow continues to expand with more locations across New Zealand, the R&D team is expected to produce more long-lasting, high-quality, and innovative solutions over the next few years to address tomorrow’s plumbing and piping problems.

This article featured in the October edition of Trenchless Australasia. 

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