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Nord Stream 2: what’s on the technical side?

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

How is construction progressing on Nord Stream 2? Independent expert Natalya Kuznetsova, Project Director for the Midstream Oil and Gas Congress (MOGC 2019), gives her commentary on it.

The world energy map is changing and the expansion of the pipeline infrastructure is becoming one of the key questions for the midstream industry. Pipelines connect countries like Canada and America, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the great quad of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India, and many others. Russia is not an exception towards pipeline projects. Among the most outstanding are the Power of Siberia pipeline, TurkStream, and Nord Stream 2 (NS2).

Opportunity for international co-operation

The project —with a budget estimated at €9.5 billion (US$11 billion), more than half financed by Gazprom, and the rest sponsored by Engie, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall— is implemented by the Nord Stream 2 AG company. Nord Stream 2 starts in the area to the North of Saint Petersburg, called Ust-Luga, and stretches across the Baltic Sea to the Greifswald area in Germany. In total, covering more than 1200 km. The construction includes both onshore and offshore segments, making NS2 a separate market and providing an opportunity for co-operation and experience exchange for large international oil and gas companies. The construction itself involves such companies as Europipe, Mülheim, United Metallurgical Company, and Chelyabinsk Pipe-Rolling Plant in terms of steel pipes supply, Bokaalis-Van Oord for rock placement activities, and Kvaerner within the scope of works at onshore facilities in Russia.

Construction challenges

With the pipeline route having onshore and offshore sections, and facing varied environmental impact, the construction requires the appliance of different types of technologies. The Russian onshore part passing through the Kurgalsky nature reserve is installed using innovative an open-cut construction method allowing preservation of the local hydrology. The offshore component requires more attention to corrosion prevention, leak detection, and other issues.

Wasco Coatings Germany is one of the main contractors of Nord Stream 2. The company is responsible for the weight coating and logistics of the 200 000 pipes needed for construction. Within its activities Wasco cooperates with some of the ports and plants that were involved in the accomplishment of the first Nord Stream pipeline.

NS2 also commands the services of three pipe-laying companies. Allseas is the main contractor in charge of laying more than 96% of the pipeline. In the course of the Nord Stream 2 it deploys three of its vessels, the Solitaire, Pioneering Spirit, and the Audacia, two are dynamically positioned, and one is converted as an anchored vessel. The Solitaire, which has been successfully operating since 1998, is installing a 374 km long section in the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone. The Pioneering Spirit —the largest construction and pipelay vessel in the world— is responsible for the deepwater pipelaying works. The Audacia, a smaller and more versatile vessel with higher pipe hold capacity, is used in the shallow water section in Germany.

Working on the project resembles a relay race; where partner companies join together stage by stage to enable operations at their sites. And the offshore pipe-laying contractor MRTS JSC started this ‘race’ by deploying its multifunctional barge the Fortuna to install the first 13 km of the shallow water pipeline section in Russia and to execute two above-water tie-ins.

The pipelaying contractor Saipem, with its flat-bottomed offshore installation barge Castoro Dieci that was used during the construction of the first Nord Stream, is responsible for completing the shore approach section of the pipeline, connecting it to the landfall in Germany and performing a number of above-water tie-ins in German waters. The company pays much attention to subsea systems, energy efficiency, and environmental engineering development, and we have continually invited representatives of Saipem to our closed-door events. This is an opportunity to hear firsthand details of the work, to exchange experience, and to discuss special and practical cases.

Current state and prospective

As of this date, Castoro Dieci has completed its work in the Bay of Greifswald. Audacia is performing pipelaying activities in German territorial waters, and Solitaire is carrying out works in the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone. More than 200 km of the pipeline has already been laid in the Baltic Sea and the NS2 Project is running true to the plan. According to the schedule, all construction works in German territorial waters will be finished by the end of this year, and the pipeline will be commissioned by the end of 2019. The total capacity of two NS2 strings will comprise 55 billion m3/y of gas.

We are pleased to have the representatives of NS2 partner companies coming to the Midstream Oil and Gas Congress 2019 to talk about the current and upcoming projects and issues in the European oil and gas supply. Join the decision makers from Gazprom Export LLC, Uniper Technologies GmbH, Saipem, EKME, Naturgy, and other leading companies in Thessaloniki, Greece on 18 - 19 February.

To get more information on the Congress, click here.

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Nord stream pipeline news Nord Stream 2 news