On 18 November this year, the last weld on the gas pipeline connecting the coasts of Denmark and Poland was made. This moment marks the completion of the most important stage of work on the Baltic Pipe project.
The construction of the Baltic Pipe offshore section in the Baltic Sea has been completed. This day brings us significantly closer to achieving the desired secure diversity of supply sources to Poland in 2022. The capacity of Baltic Pipe will amount to 10 billion cubic meters per year, which is comparable to the volume of gas received by Poland under the long-term contract with Russian Gazprom, which expires in December 2022 – emphasized Piotr Naimski, government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure.
The laying of the gas pipeline on the seabed was the most challenging part of Baltic Pipe from an organisational and technical point of view. We completed this stage in accordance with earlier declarations and the planned schedule. We still have to go through tests, technical tests, and approvals. We have about a year to complete this work, so that from October 1, 2022, we can start commercial gas transmission from the Norwegian shelf to Poland, said Tomasz Stępień, President of the Management Board of GAZ-SYSTEM.
During the construction of about 275-kilometre long gas pipeline across the maritime areas of Denmark, Sweden and Poland, GAZ-SYSTEM used more than 22,000 pipes with a nominal diameter of 900 millimetres. They were all welded together and laid on the bottom of the Baltic Sea by specialized vessels.
The Castorone was the largest of the three ships used to build the pipeline. During 35 days of operation, the ship laid about 150 km of gas pipeline in deep waters. The second ship – Castoro Sei – built about 104 km in Polish and Danish waters, while Castoro 10 – about 20 km in shallower waters off the Danish coast. During the work, the vessels were active at sea 24 hours a day. A total of about 1,100 people were involved in the work, and crews were exchanged by helicopter, among other means.
About 35 other vessels have also been used during the works, e.g. for delivering pipes to the laying vessels, dredging the seabed, dumping rock material and surveying the seabed using remotely operated underwater robots.
During pipeline laying, all necessary crossings with third party offshore infrastructure were also made and each was adequately secured.
As part of the offshore works, two tunnels were also drilled at the points of exit of the offshore gas pipeline. In Poland, the tunnel is about 600 metres long, and in Denmark about 1000 metres.
The Baltic Pipe project has been recognised by the European Commission as a “Project of Common Interest (PCI) and has held this status continuously since 2013. The project has received financial support from the European Union under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The total funding granted so far amounts to EUR 266.8 million. This amount is intended, among other things, for the implementation of design works, obtaining necessary administrative permits and the implementation of construction and assembly works.