MAJOR PIPELAY ACCIDENT OFF THE COAST OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

February 01, 2024

The Italian multinational company Saipem and Australian media reported that on January 30, a major accident occurred on the Castorone pipelay vessel while laying a 36” pipeline for Woodside’s Scarborough deepwater gas development in the Carnarvon Basin, off the Pibara Coast in Northern Australia. Saipem added, “The accident did not cause injuries to personnel and localised damage to the trunkline was sustained which will be remediated.” Castorone vessel did not sustain any major damages.
The trunk line will link the huge Scarborough gas field to the Pluto LNG onshore termina located near Karratha on the coast of Western Australia. The contract was awarded to Saipem in January 2022. Recently Woodside reported that the Scarborough project was 55% complete and on track for gas exports in 2026.
Saipem said that a software anomaly could be the cause of the accident.
The Castorone experienced an uncontrolled movement on January 2nd, causing several pipe sections to be lost. The uncontrolled vessel movement is most likely linked to a dynamic positioning (DP) system failure. The second accident may also involve the malfunction of the same DP system.
WA Today reported that an underwater camera confirmed the pipeline was ruptured, allowing seawater to flow in.
Alongside the investigation, plans for the trunkline remediation works are underway.
(Source: Saipem/Woodside/WA Today/NOPSEMA – Image: Castorone pipelay vessel/Saipem)