Power Systems

“Desert Rat” – Santos, Australia

Chris Turney was back at Santos’ Moomba gas processing plant in the Australian desert early in 2018. He spent six months there more than 10 years ago, supervising the installation and commissioning of the upgrade of the MV network.

The plant uses its own gas to generate power (up to 20MW) to supply the 12MW average load. There is no grid connection available.

This trip was to look at options for installing a new Gas Turbine Alternator (GTA). On a tight timeframe of four weeks, an installation specification was created and costed for five possible options.

Each was judged against the following criteria with different weightings:

  • Black Start – the ability to start a dead plant
  • Common Modes of Failure – must be independent of other generators
  • Compatibility – similar technology to existing plant if possible
  • Cost Effective – no gold plating
  • Future Proofing – should not limit future options in the plant
  • Limit impact on plant during construction – no risk of trips or outages
  • Maintainability – must be isolatable without taking out excessive plant
  • Predictable outcome – should be built in a way that will provide certainty of outcome.
  • Short programme – time is a consideration and a short programme is preferred.

The recommended option, while not the most cost effective, provided the best solution for a small margin in cost.

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