The Newcastle Herald, By MATTHEW KELLY, April 2, 2015, 10 p.m.
The first gas has been pumped into AGL’s $310 million gas storage facility at Tomago.
The 1.5 petajoule tank, pictured, which is due to be fully operational by May, will provide storage capability for up to two weeks of gas for the greater Newcastle region.
The first gas flow follows a 950-day construction phase, that peaked in last April when two industrial fans were used to lift a 450-tonne dome into place on the tank’s roof.
Construction project manager Tim Knill said the storage facility would become a major energy asset for the region.
"It's been a very complex infrastructure project and this milestone represents the culmination of over six years of dedicated hard work."
The company's preliminary research into the economic benefits of the project show the estimated annual combined contribution of the largest gas users in the Greater Newcastle Region was $2 billion.
"With looming gas supply shortages predicted for 2016, the cost of one day’s interrupted supply is estimated to be $5.5million,’" Knill said.
A 95-kilometre pipeline will link the storage tank to Gloucester and Newcastle as part of the NSW network.
The underground pipeline will carry gas between Stratford and the existing Sydney-Newcastle gas pipeline via AGL’s Newcastle gas storage facility at Tomago.
The company estimates the pipeline could be transporting more than 15 per cent of the state's gas needs by 2018.
The project team has also achieved more than one million man-hours without a lost-time injury.
"Our commitment to safe controls and management of activities will continue to be a priority as we progressively introduce gas and electricity to site," Knill said.
The official opening is expected to be in June, 2015.