North Rankin project sets international benchmark

Resource Date


By Tony Malkovic

The huge $5 billion project to extend the North West Shelf LNG project off Karratha was the big winner at the WA Engineering Excellence Awards held in Perth on 13 September.

The North Rankin Development Project won the overall 2014 WA Engineering Excellence Award for exceptional engineering.

It also won the Resource Development Category, as well as the category prize for Control Systems, Networks, Information Processing and Telecommunications. The project was carried out by Woodside Energy, WorleyParsons, KBR, Honeywelll, I&E Systems and Transfield Worley.

In accepting the awards, Woodside Energy’s David Young praised the efforts of all the entrants.

“To me it’s a sign of the health of our State,” he said. “It’s a sign of excellent performance of individuals, excellent engineering and excellent business outcomes. People trust us to develop big projects in this State because we can do these things, all of us can.”

He thanked all the teams and contractors working on the project, saying it had been a massive effort.

“The project we successfully delivered together had about 13 million man-hours of work in it,” he said. “Forty per cent of the project, every dollar we spent was actually spent in Australia.

“We worked very hard as a team to create a common vision and we worked very hard as a team to spend as much of the money as we could in Australia.”

He said although there were some tense times with the project, there was also much fun in working and achieving their goal.

“Yes, there were times when I had fingers, toes, legs – everything crossed – because some things were really difficult but we’d done all the maths and we said we could do this,” he said.

The awards judges praised the North Rankin project, saying it is represents a significant benchmark in Australian engineering, and is an extraordinary example of the capabilities of the Australian resources sector.

The project, carried out over several years, involved the construction of a second platform – the North Rankin B platform – along with gas compression facilities, low-pressure separators, utilities and accommodation.

North Rankin B is 274m tall and weighs 65,000 tonnes, with the platform sitting on a four-leg jacket which is connected to the seabed by 16 piles.

The new platform is connected by two 100-metre bridges to the existing North Rankin A platform. Both platforms now operate as a single integrated facility known as the North Rankin Complex.

The awards judges praised the way the project was carried out, saying it involved innovative approaches to engineering, fabrication, transportation and installation.

“If the tasks themselves weren’t difficult enough, they all needed to be undertaken while ensuring the existing facilities (so vital to the WA gas market) continued to operate seamlessly throughout the 4.5-year offshore construction period,” the judges said.

The judges were particularly impressed with the way Woodside and its team applied a first principles, reliability-based approach to many of the most challenging aspects of the project. 

“This was most impressively demonstrated in the float-over installation of the 24,250 tonne topsides, which was the tallest and second heaviest float-over installation ever undertaken in open water,” they said.

“The experience and knowledge that was gained through the process has enabled expertise to be developed and exported from WA to throughout the world.”


View the full list of WA Engineering Excellence Award winners here.