Isle of Grain - Heavy Fuel Oil Pipeline relocation

Isle of Grain

Heavy fuel oil pipeline relocation

Total Project Management

- Including an 85m micro-tunnel

The Project

Utilising mainly open-cut techniques, Stockton Drilling Limited (SDL) successfully installed 400m of 450mm thermally insulated pipe on behalf of E.ON UK Ltd. Careful planning ensured that the pipeline was completed in time to tie-in to the existing HFO line during a pre-agreed shutdown period. Ground contamination, safety and environmental issues added to the challenge of the project.


Part of the route passed directly under the Environmental Agency Sea Defence Bund. As this was only an 85m crossing, micro-tunnel techniques were used to complete the crossing.

Health and Safety

A brownfield ex-refinery site meant that particular attention had to be paid to potential contamination and difficult geology and ground conditions over the whole pipeline route. In addition the area was tidal. All of these factors were considered in an extensive risk assessment completed by SDL prior to starting work on-site. Specialist protective equipment and a site-based asbestos monitor were some of the control measures put in-place. SDL established a safety-first culture on-site; from site-induction and tool-box talks for all personnel to regular audit, review and reporting. SDL bring a wealth of experience to projects such as this, involving challenging crossings and specialist techniques, and this ensures completion on-time, to cost and safely.


The whole area was a protected habitat not only for the well-known Great Crested Newt but also due to the presence of Water Vole. Working with a specialist environmental consultancy SDL developed working practices that safeguarded both wildlife and habitat – meeting the strict planning constraints, supervised throughout by an on-site environmental advisor.

Project Summary

  • 600m, 450mm line
  • Thermally insulated pipe
  • Open-cut
  • 85m micro-tunnel
  • Crossing of critical sea-defence bund
  • Tidal flood plain
  • Asbestos contamination
  • Poor geology
  • Tight environmental controls
  • Protected habitats

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Designed at B&W studio