Taranaki company Burgess & Crowley Civil has been providing various aggregate services to the region’s energy industry for almost three decades and its latest wellsite construction project involved an innovative way of minimising vehicle movements on a strategic rural road. By NEIL RITCHIE.
TODD ENERGY’S efforts to be a ‘good neighbour’ regarding its exploration and production activities in Taranaki recently saw Burgess & Crowley Civil carrying out a programme to reduce heavy traffic flows through the village of Tikorangi and along Otaraoa Road, the main through road for traffic from Waitara inland to the eastern Taranaki town of Tarata.
And Burgess & Crowley Civil (BCC) did not use production from its own quarry near Toko in eastern Taranaki, but trucked aggregates from a more northern Inglewood quarry, as well as used ‘hard fill’ from a farm near the site chosen by Todd Energy for the construction of its Mangahewa G wellsite – the latest expansion of the commercial gas field.
“This was a win-win situation for everyone, for all the parties concerned,” recalls BCC company director and general manager, Owen Burgess, regarding the work that finished during the latter half of 2016.
“It was good for Todd Energy, it was good for the farmer concerned, Brendan Lyons, utilising material from his farmland, and it was good for the Inglewood quarry.
“But, most importantly, our latest contract with Todd Energy regarding wellsite construction enabled all that hard fill and aggregate to be transported on lesser routes, avoiding 900 or so truck movements on the narrow and sometimes twisty Otaraoa road.”
The ‘back country’ route also involved using some private Todd Energy roads and a Todd Energy access bridge.
“This was the biggest wellsite construction project we have yet been involved in,” Owen adds.
It was an 11-month project, involving about 94,000 cubic metres (cumecs) of earthworks (top soil and dirt) shifted from the Brendan Lyons farm, then about 9000 cumecs of hard fill (GAP 150), which was not crushed or screened, also taken from the farm.
Finally, Inglewood Metal’s Everett Road quarry supplied about 5000 cumecs of AP40 and AP65 aggregates.
As well as the construction of the large (exceeding 200 metres by 100 metres) wellsite, there is also the ‘footprint’ of where Todd Energy’s ‘Big Ben’ rig will go when Todd decides to drill some development wells. This ‘top off’ was a combination of AP40 and AP65.
Other recent jobs BCC has done for Todd Energy have included work on the construction of the Mangahewa D and E wellsites, and the Te Kiri wellsite around coastal Taranaki.
“We’ve done a lot of work for Todd over the years and some for Greymouth,” Owen says, referring to the country’s largest and second largest private petroleum companies, Todd Energy and Greymouth Petroleum.
“And some of this work has also included the realignment, and widening, of some rural roads.”
And the company has also done some preliminary work for Todd Corporation subsidiary Nova Energy, which may decide to go ahead with the construction of another natural gas-fired peaker power station on the outskirts of New Plymouth to complement its existing gas peaker plant at McKee near Mangahewa.
BCC was incorporated as a company in 1988, and is now one of the most established construction and quarry companies in the region and has diversified in recent times.
“In the early days we concentrated on the oil and gas, energy industries. Then we diversified into roading, land developments, construction of subdivisions. We also do some work constructing access tracks, etc, into forests and are now also involved in the expanding chicken farm business.”
Which means the company’s total involvement is in drainage, commercial, industrial, subdivisions, grading maintenance, paving resurfacing, road marking and sealing, site works, surfacing of tracks, earthmoving and roading contracts.
Company headquarters are at Inglewood where there is an office, storage and distribution yard, as well as space for storing truck-and-trailer units. The company also has 25 or 26 excavators scattered around the region, including machines at Toko, Kaponga and other towns.
BCC has also acted as a subcontractor to Downer at the NZTA State Highway 3 Normanby realignment project, doing earthworks and drainage, etc. This project will see a 76-year-old overbridge and its substandard approaches replaced by the “road under rail” underpass and a new stock underpass by mid-2017.
“We also have guys in Dannevirke and Wellington,” Owen adds, referring to BCC acting as a subcontractor for further projects outside the region.
Some of these involve bulk earthmoving, doing some work at Pahiatua and at the construction of the new water treatment plant at Whanganui, where BCC is subcontracted to Hawkins for earthworks and drainage. And BCC is a subcontractor to Higgins at Dannevirke for the realignment of State Highway 2.
In Wellington it’s a similar story with the NZTA Haywards Interchange, an estimated $43 million project involving the construction of a new interchange at the intersection of the Western Hutt/Haywards Hill roads (State Highway 2 and State Highway 58). The project also includes realignments of several highway connections, a car park and a pedestrian bridge. BCC is a subcontractor to Downer for this project.
“We’ve never had both the dairy and petroleum industries down at the same time before so we’ve had to diversify … and we are enjoying the new work as well as still doing some of the old,” says Owen.
• For more detailed information on Todd’s Big Ben drilling rig check out: EnergyNZ magazine’s feature at http://bit.ly/2k67sbd.