Geological project in Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
Richard Fyvie, a J&G senior engineering geologist and Associate has just returned from a trip to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, where he has been aiding Abu Dhabi-based firm DCN Offshore in investigating an existing Malaysian-operated Power Station site that borders on the Mediterranean. The project entailed assessing the ground conditions below the intake and outlet GRP pipes that deliver seawater to the Plant, which is then used to cool the turbines before being returned to the sea.
Whilst being still a relatively young Plant, commissioned only a decade or so ago, the site is located in an area of significantly adverse ground conditions. A range of geotechnical site improvements were implemented on the site prior to construction, notably the draining and forced-consolidation of a 20m thick soft clay horizon that underlies the site. All significant structures were also then piled to depths of between 32 m and 47 m in order to limit differential settlement. Unfortunately sections of the GRP pipeline were under-designed and not piled, despite the poor ground conditions. The result is that the joints are now leaking along the pipeline as the pipe settles and serious surface leaks occur. This is potentially endangering the operation of the Plant and causing trips of power generation.
Jeffares & Green (Pty) Ltd has put together a multidisciplinary team to work with DCN Offshore in coming up with practical and well-engineered options for potential remediation works. The preferred solution for stabilising the pipes will need to be a combination of cost, technical effectiveness and rapid construction, as the allowed period for repair is a mere 22 days during the plant’s annual shutdown period.
Richard’s trip was not all work – he managed to take a day to do the mandatory visit to Cairo Museum to see King Tutankhamen’s burial mask and other treasures, papyrus factory, perfume factory as well as a camel ride to visit the pyramids. Richard reports that camels are excellent at carrying sample bags.