The Challenge:

  • Creating and maintaining a skilled workforce and supply chain from scratch: constructing the first natural gas network in Northern Ireland. We also had to construct the hiring, retention and development solutions where none previously existed
  • Maximising social impact: working extensively in communities throughout PNG’s licence area, presenting natural gas as a lifestyle product and giving back to the communities we serve
  • Working within regulatory allowances: though building a new network and connecting customers with funding from private investment. Regulatory allowances had to be met, with outputs maximised within the constraints presented by those budgets
  • Innovating products and practices for the NI Natural Gas market: actively developing what’s optimal for the NI Natural Gas market and our client rather than simply importing practices and products from abroad. An active approach to value, productivity and sustainability has been taken throughout the Alliance

The Solution:

  • Workforce and Supply Chain: structured graduate development programmes, hiring and development of school-leavers and apprenticeships put in place. NI Natural Gas Supply Chain Alliance created to communicate forward needs and drive local investment and innovation
  • Maximising Social Impact: Bridge-to-Employment (new careers for long-term unemployed), local hiring, schools programmes and charity events
  • Working within regulatory allowances: Co-location with client for works-planning; OpEx and CapEx drivers of innovation and supply chain programmes
  • Innovating products and practices for the NI Natural Gas market: introducing ‘no dig’ techniques, more than 70% of PNG’s network has been installed using modern methods such as directional drilling which is far more environmentally friendly and productive than open cut. Engineering innovations for PNG include: a 4 bar PE system designed from scratch; below ground district pressure reduction stations and preassembled and pretested customer meter boxes

The Impact:

  • More than 3,500km of mains and service laid, bringing natural gas to more than 200,000 customers, alleviating fuel poverty and supporting modern lifestyles
  • Hundreds of gas professionals created locally in NI. This includes more than 70 previously unemployed individuals trained through the Bridge to Employment programme with 15 graduates under development at any time
  • Co-located main office to enhance collaboration with 36 personnel embedded with our client to expedite value and customer-focused decision making
  • Safety: award-winning (Utility Week Utility Stars 2016) safety practices include behaviours-based stand-down days and visual method statements
  • Sustainability: implemented NI’s first PE-recycling centre
  • Modern methods of construction: more than 70% of the network constructed using ‘no-dig’ techniques, reducing material use, streetworks disruption to prospective customers and carbon emissions
  • OpEx/CapEx-focused innovation: performance-based specifications and supply chain challenges have helped to reduce materials costs by as much as 30% whilst supporting enhanced productivity
" Although people see us as a large company, we are not a big company. We have less than 200 employees. We work particularly well with our main contractor [Kier] – which is a solid partnership. Their vehicles have our logo on them and we are very much part of the same team. "
Ivan Bell PNG Operations Director speaking to agendaNi, Northern Ireland's leading business and public policy magazine

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