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Another stage of work in the Baltic Pipe project was completed on 18 November, when the last weld was made on the undersea part of the gas pipeline connecting the coasts of Denmark and Poland. The pipeline is expected to be operational as early as October 2022.
The construction of the offshore part of the gas pipeline was one of the biggest challenges for the investor. As emphasised by Piotr Naimski, the government’s plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, the completion of the next stage of the construction is a guarantee that Poland will be able to enjoy a safe diversity of supply sources in 2022. Baltic Pipe will allow the transport of 10bn m3 of gas per year and this is an amount comparable to that which Poland receives under its contract with the Russian Gazprom. The contract with the Russian supplier expires in December 2022.
The construction of the offshore section of the gas pipeline took place on time, which means that tests, technical trials and approvals can start now. According to Tomasz Stępień, President of the Management Board of Gaz-System, the company has approximately six months to complete these works. Their completion will enable the commercial transmission of gas from the Norwegian shelf to Poland, which is to start on 1 October 2022.
Baltic Pipe construction
During the project, Gaz-System laid and welded over 22,000 pipes with a nominal diameter of 900 millimetres on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The works took place in the maritime areas of Denmark, Sweden and Poland, and the investment resulted in the construction of approximately 275 km of gas pipeline. Three vessels were used for the construction, and they were active at sea 24 hours a day. The number of people involved in the Baltic Pipe project was approximately 1,100 and workers were transported to the construction site, for instance, by helicopter.
Of the three main vessels that were used during the construction of the pipeline, the Castorone was responsible for the largest number of pipes laid, constructing approximately 150 km of deep-water pipeline in 35 days. Castoro Sei, the second of the ships, laid around 104 km of pipes in waters belonging to Poland and Denmark. In turn, the third vessel, Castoro 10, is responsible for the construction of approximately 20 km of gas pipeline in the shallow waters off the Danish coast.
Other vessels were also used during construction to carry out additional work, such as pipe supply to the main vessels, seabed dredging, rock dumping and ROV bottom exploration.
Work with offshore and onshore infrastructure
The execution of the seabed works was linked to taking into account the existing subsea infrastructure. Therefore, during the laying of the gas pipeline, necessary and properly secured crossings with third-party subsea infrastructure were constructed.
Two tunnels were dug to connect the offshore part of the pipeline with the onshore infrastructure. In Poland, a tunnel was constructed with a length of about 600 metres and in Denmark with a length of about 1,000 metres. Thanks to these two projects, it has been possible to preserve the shorelines in both countries unaltered.
Support of the European Commission
Baltic Pipe is an investment of great importance not only for Poland but also for the entire region. The European Commission has recognised Baltic Pipe as a “project of Community interest” and the investment itself has received EU financial support under the Connecting Europe initiative. So far, the funding has amounted to EUR 266.8m, and the funds have been allocated for the implementation of design works, as well as for obtaining the necessary administrative permits. The funding has also helped to cover some of the costs associated with carrying out construction and assembly work.