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Drax Power Station

The Project

As a result of a recent HSE surveillance audit at the Drax Power Station, Blackburn site, the existing Gas Pressure Reducing Station was identified as non-compliant with current IGEM/TD/13 Edition 2 standards due to combined relief ventilation configuration.

The project comprised the installation of redesigned ventilation system to the Gas Pressure Reducing Station to bring the site in line with current standards and compliant with British and European legislation.

Working closely with the end user (Drax Generation Enterprise), Sonae (UK) were appointed as Principal Contractor to carry out the Ventilation Modification works associated with Gas Pressure Reducing Skid relief ventilation upgrade.

Ventilation Modifications
The installation currently comprises one common 2” ventilation header pipework that accepts each of the Gas Reducing skid relief vent lines.  The redesign of the ventilation system included a number of individual small bore vents to be installed for system of similar duty.

Individual small bore ventilation lines shall vent to atmosphere at high level via vertical ladder rack support system from the Gas Pressure Reducing skid.

All Swagelok tube and fittings were installed by Instrument Pipefitter competent installer with appropriate Swagelok tube fitting installation training records.

All small bore tube and fittings including isolation valves were supplied and installed in accordance with the design hook up drawings and datasheets. All material certificates were retained and included within the handover documentation.
Ventilation pipework was secured by proprietary tube clamps and evenly spaced to prevent any deflection or sagging.

Pressure Testing
All ventilation pipework installed was subject to hydrostatic pressure testing for strength and leaks upon completion of the installation in order to validate that the equipment will operate under desired conditions once returned to service.

Test Records and material certificates were issued upon completion prior to commissioning by site operations in accordance with Drax standard procedures.

Health & Safety
All works were carried out under a controlled permit to work (PTW) in accordance with Drax Power site safety rules and procedures.
Competent person trained in accordance with Drax Power site rules and registered on Competent Person database was in attendance for the duration of all work activity under the contract scope.

All working at height undertaken via 16m Diesel Articulating Boom.  Operator IPAF trained as a minimum requirement.

The works were delivered to the satisfaction of the Drax Power site management personnel  in accordance with the key delivery dates specified within the accepted programme during the shutdown period.

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HYDEPLOY 2 Compound Build

HyDeploy is a demonstration project funded by OFGEM, Cadent Gas and Northern Gas Networks to establish the feasibility of supplementing Natural Gas supplies with hydrogen to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

To achieve this reduction, a consortium formed of Cadent Gas, Northern Gas Networks, the HSE Science and Research Centre, ITM power, progressive energy and keel university have worked together to study the feasibility of injection of up to 20% mol/mol hydrogen into the natural gas supply and into UK households within the north of England region.
Sonae (UK) were appointed Principal Contractor and were responsible for the EC&I, mechanical and civil works associated with the plant.

Works included the installation of new Hydrogen Buffer Tank, Grid Entry Unit (GEU), new Fire & Gas sxstem, LV distribution, new Telemetry system and GPRS communications, new site lighting and new pressure and tempertaure monitoring instrumentation.

Works were coordinated with other vendor work packages to ensure the delivery of the project to client specified timescales.

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The Project

Northern Gas Networks are leading the H21 project on behalf of the other Gas Distribution Networks within the UK to provide the safety based evidence for a 100% Hydrogen conversion in the below 7 bar GB gas distribution network.  The next stage is to address the strategic evidence at a network level.  The current H21 (Phase 1a and 1b) is looking at the performance of the existing gas network at asset level and establish the background performance of assets and the behaviour of hydrogen in our natural surroundings.  However, there remains the need to research and understand the network performance and operations when converting to 100% hydrogen.

The project is the construction of a new hydrogen test facility to trail gas industry operational and maintenance procedures with 100% hydrogen.  This is to further develop an existing hydrogen test facility to be able to simulate the various operations on a distribution network, to ensure they can be performed in a similar manner.

Sonae (UK) were appointed to carry out the commissioning the new hydrogen test facility on behalf of Northern Gas Networks.  All pre-commissioning checks to be carried out by the E&I installer.


SONAE were responsible for supplying both the NRO documentation and competent persons to control and execute the changeover in line with the networks SCO 5 requirements.

Provision of SCO 4&5 competent persons to carry out the end to end checks and wet commissioning of the complete E&I installation under a controlled NRO procedure.

The support consisted of conceptual and detailed design review in conjunction with all parties to establish buildability, maintainability and sequencing of the works to minimise or mitigate interruption to live processes while maximising on any synergies with other disciplines or departments including quality assurance checks during the construction phase.

Final walkdown site visits were carried out with the Northern Gas Networks Project Engineer and other interested parties such as NGN ARM and NGN Maintenance to ensure snagging and asset tagging works complete to the satisfaction of NGN, obtain user acceptance of the completed works and carry out a ‘lessons learnt’ exercise to identify possible preferences or improvements for future works.


Project records were produced and submitted at key stages throughout the project including support documentation for G17 part D,E and F sign off such as signed red-line marked up as-built drawings, dead and live test commissioning results, instrument pressure test certificates and vendor FAT and SAT documentation where applicable.

All final handover records were submitted to the Northern Gas Networks in both electronic format via A-site media document control system and hard copy format.

Health & Safety

All works were carried out under a controlled PTW in accordance with Northern Gas Networks SCO (Safe Control of Operations) management procedures.

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