In an engineering spectacle, the massive dome of AGL’s Newcastle Gas Storage Facility (NGSF) tank was raised from the ground to its final height of 40 metres in a major milestone for the project at Tomago. 

Last Friday the 450 tonne dome was raised within three hours, from the floor of the partially constructed LNG tank to the top using two industrial fans. It is believed this is the first time in NSW the roof has been raised in this way for a similar type of structure. 

Construction on the $310 million NGSF began in August 2012 and it is expected to be fully operational by May next year. The 1.5 petajoule tank will provide the storage capability for up to two weeks of gas for the Greater Newcastle region, which can then be used as an adequate local gas supply during peak demand periods in the winter months. 

AGL’s NGSF Construction Project Manager, Tim Knill, said it took many hours of meticulous planning and preparation to raise the roof and the “operation went smoothly”. 

“The reason we raised the roof from the ground up, rather than build it at the top is because it’s actually the safest and easiest way to do it. Building it on the ground takes away the risk of suspending it in the air and working at heights,” he said. 

“We had to factor in weather conditions before we could start but it went up without a hitch, which is a credit to the vast expertise we have working on this project. 

“We raised the roof using two industrial fans. These fans raised the pressure under the dome roof sufficiently to lift it slowly into place. Once the roof reached the top of the tank, it was welded into position. 

”It’s a concept that sounds impossible to most people but our contractor has been using this method successfully since 1962.” 

Mr Knill added that preliminary research into the economic benefits of the project showed that the the estimated annual combined economic contribution of the largest gas users in the Greater Newcastle Region was $2 billion, “and with looming gas supply shortages predicted for 2016 the cost of one day’s interrupted supply is estimated to be $5.5 million”. 

There are still images and a time lapse video clip of the roof being raised that is available to all media. To access this contact Kylie Keogh on the below details.

AGL’s Newcastle Gas Storage Facility Facts
  • Started construction: August 2012
  • Expected to be operational: May 2015
  • Cost: $310 million
  • Onsite employment during construction: 200 (peak) – all up, more than 700 people have worked onsite
  • Onsite employment during normal operations: 14 (full-time)
  • Length of high pressure pipeline from Tomago to Hexham (carries natural gas to and from the Sydney-Newcastle gas network): 5.5 kilometres
  • Tank height: 40 metres, which is slightly taller than the Christ Church Cathedral in Newcastle Tank diameter: 58 metres
  • Tank capacity: 63,000 cubic metres (30,000 tonnes or 1.5 petajoules) which is equal to 25 Olympic swimming pools
  • Fans used to raise roof: 1 metre in diameter
  • LNG temperature: -162 degrees Celsius
  • Thickness of tank insulation: 1 metre
  • Greater Newcastle Region annual combined economic contribution of largest gas users: $2 billion per annum (preliminary research)

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.