A major gas installation project for four main Scottish distilleries, led by utility infrastructure provider Fulcrum and subcontractor Phoenix Utilities, has finished ahead of schedule with the support of a streamlined supply chain coordinated by Fusion Provida’s Livingston branch.
In July 2015, utility infrastructures provider Fulcrum was commissioned to deliver a natural gas supply that would link Scotland’s main gas network to the Tamdhu, Dalmunach, Cardhu and Knockando distilleries in Speyside.
Awarded by a partnership of three whisky companies that shared the cost of the pipeline, Chivas Brothers, Diageo and Ian MacLeod Distillers, the connection to the gas network would help reduce the distilleries’ carbon footprints by cutting their reliance on fuel oil and ending the need for its delivery by road tankers during the summer months.
In order to complete the project, Fulcrum called upon the expertise of multi utility provider, Phoenix Utilities to install 13km pipeline that would supply all of the buildings.
The subsequent £4 million project was the biggest Phoenix has ever undertaken and required a reliable supply chain partner to ensure the project would run to schedule and minimise disruption to the surrounding areas. Consequently they approached long-standing partner Fusion Provida, the UK’s leading supplier for utilities and utility infrastructure providers, to supply 13,000m of gas pipes and 33 valves.
Supplying specialist support
The UK gas network generally operates on low pressure specifications, however in this instance an element of the pipework was required to withhold an intermediate pressure of 7 Bar. This meant Phoenix Utilities required a portfolio of specialist materials adhering to stringent specifications. Traditionally the procurement of this type of equipment would incur longer lead times because of the complex and unusual nature of the development. However, Fusion Provida has been involved in a number of similar projects and its expert team was on hand to respond to the brief quickly and efficiently. Technical drawings and accurate product specifications were provided as well as a detailed and costed material take-off in order to optimise usage. As a result, the Livingston branch supplied specialist 7 bar valves, pecats and governor entries to rigorous gas industry specifications in a short timeframe.
Throughout the project, Phoenix Utilities implemented a method of directional boring, commonly called horizontal directional drilling or HDD, to install the underground pipe along a prescribed bore path using a surface-launched drilling rig. Directional boring is used when trenching or excavating is not practical and is suitable for a variety of soil conditions and jobs including road, landscape and river crossings. Consequently there was minimal impact on the Speyside community and distilleries – throughout the six month period, there were only two road closures.
Location, location, location
The rural location of the distilleries meant that any deliveries could be costly. Fusion Provida’s Livingston branch was able to provide all the materials and hire products from one location and on one delivery which significantly reduced transport costs and waiting time for the contractor.
Kenny Nicol, Managing Director of Phoenix Utilities, said: “As always, Fusion Provida has delivered as our partner throughout the Speyside installation. We rely on their close relationships with manufacturers to meet specifications on projects on time. The fact that we were able to complete ahead of schedule is testament to the added value of working with a supply chain partner like Fusion Provida.”
Sheila Rigby, Depot Manager at Fusion Provida in Livingston, added: “Phoenix Utilities is a valued customer that we have been working with for nine years, so we’re proud to have been able to supply their biggest project to date. It is crucial for projects like this to run like clockwork so that they don’t disrupt the surrounding communities. This is why our projects team is always on hand to assist with design, minimising waste and maximising efficiency.”