Monday, July 12, 2004

Welcome to the jungle.

Three of us went out for a trip along the road yesterday to have a look
through the Agogo processing facility and up to the drill pad where the
bush run of the line meets the road.
I think I have written about this before but just to reiterate, the
project is the construction of a set of pipelines from a wellhead in the
jungle to a processing facility at Agogo. The first seven kilometres,
the bush run, are through some very inhospitable jungle and everything
on that section needs to be flown in, men, equipment and materials. Then
from the end of the bush run to Agogo the lines follow the edge of a
dirt road, the road run, and finally there is the tie-ins and some
refurbishment of a separator vessel and the fabrication of a slug
catcher at the Agogo plant itself.

As I hadn't been out in the field yet I jumped on the opportunity to go
out and have a look. So we left the rain surrounding Ridge camp for the
mere drizzle of Agogo about half an hours drive away. On entering the
plant and checking in at the control room we got a quickie safety
briefing and were then left to our own devices. The plant is small by
most standards and the area where we have to bring in the line is mostly
clear although we will have to excavate a rocky outcrop to get enough
space for the slug catcher.

By the time we left the plant a small miracle had occurred, it stopped
raining! Now we went up the road looking for possible laydown areas for
the pipe and to check on the road crossings we will have to put in. The
road steadily goes up and it wasn't all that long before we were back in
the clouds but apart from the odd spot of rain it stayed pleasant enough
and after another hours drive we reached the end of the road and the
start for the bush run. There is a small camp up here for the drillers
and exploration crews that come by from time to time. It consists of
five or so portacoms a bush kitchen and a longhouse. The portacoms have
four or five rooms each, the longhouse sleeps about twenty and is
completely made out of bush material and plastic sheeting and looks like
something you'll normally expect to see in the slums of Bombay although
it's actually quite serviceable. The bush kitchen is a similar structure
as the longhouse but split in a kitchen and dining area and the kitchen
has all the stainless steel benches and appliances you would expect to
find in similar facilities around the world. As we are thinking about
possibly using this camp for some of our personnel we had a look around
to see what we might need to upgrade and change, mainly the toilet and
shower block, before we can move our people in.

When the cloud cover parts you can see the wellhead we have to start our
line from but in the hour or so we were up here it only cleared once for
two or three minutes. The scenery here is magnificent though with huge
trees and very dense foliage, from the camp you look into a gorge that's
at least five hundred meters deep and which we will have to go down in
before crossing two rivers and heading back up a ridge to the well head.
With the rain making everything slippery and the clouds making
helicopter support hazardous it will be one hardcore construction

On the way back we also called in to the area where we want to put our
main camp. Again this is located on a ridge and on a good day you look
down over Lake Kutubu of course there were clouds when we arrived but it
looks like an excellent spot with plenty of room all the same.

So that was that a Sunday well spend.

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