AUGUST 31, 2007
North Tyne gas engineers are gearing up for a makeover with a difference – as one of the district’s biggest industrial landmarks gets a re-vamp.
Specialist painters are donning their overalls to paint every inch of Northern Gas Networks’ gas holder in Howdon. A feat which will require 6,000 litres (1,320 gallons) of grey paint.
The 167ft tall steel structure – built in 1960 – is a vital part of the local gas supply system, making sure there’s enough gas to go round even in the coldest winters.
Graeme Liddell, of United Utilities, said the work would be carried out by contractors Pyeroy as part of a £482,000 gasholder painting programme across the whole Northern Gas Networks area.
United Utilities looks after all Northern Gas Networks’ mains and equipment in the North East.
Other gas holders getting a full paint job are in Hull and Leeds, with many more getting partially painted. The total amount of paint being used is 12,500 litres or 2,750 gallons.
“Like any piece of equipment, these huge gasholders need to be maintained to keep them in tip top working order. The Howdon holder is 47 years old but is still working just as well as it did on the day it was built,” said Graeme.
Howdon’s gas holder can store almost three million cubic feet of gas – enough to supply 3,600 homes for a full day, or 85,000 homes for an hour.
Built by Oxley Engineering Ltd its spiral-wound design includes four separate massive 183ft diameter sections which lift telescopically as the holder fills with gas.
Chris Gorman, Network Director for Northern Gas Networks, said the gas giant was one of the town’s unsung treasures.
“When it’s cold we need the gas it stores to get us through the peaks in demand at certain times of the day. For instance first thing in the morning or early in the evening when everyone gets home from work and switches their heating on. People in North Tyneside have a lot to thank it for,” he said.
Work started on the holder’s crown (roof) in July while the structure was empty. The holder will then lift section by section so painters can do as much as possible near ground level.
The whole project is expected to take until the end of September.