Photo: Courtesy of Baltic Pipe Project

Baltic Pipe readies for next construction milestone

The pipeline end manifold (PLEM) structure, which is going to connect the Baltic Pipe with the Norwegian gas pipeline Europipe II, will soon be installed onto the seabed.

Pipeline end manifold (PLEM) (Image: Energinet)

According to Danish Energinet, the installation of the PLEM structure is scheduled to take place in December this year using Subsea 7’s vessel Seven Oceanic.

Built at Randaberg Industries in Stavanger, Norway, the PLEM is a 19-metre long piece of inspection equipment that checks for pipeline damage and is needed for commissioning and later, various operations.

In preparation for what is said to be the next important milestone in the Baltic Pipe project, the PLEM is now undergoing final tests on the land before being sunk to a depth of 40 metres in the North Sea.

As described, the structure will undergo two-step tests. First, a fabrication acceptance test will be conducted to ensure that the structure with valves contains the necessary functions. The second step entails a site integration test where all the installation and commissioning operations are performed on the land.

One of the most critical operations to be tested is to install a so-called Pig Launcher Receiver (PLR), which enables “intelligent pigs” to be sent through the gas pipe. It is important to ensure that the PLR, which is operated at sea with a remote-controlled underwater robot, functions properly and can be connected to the PLEM, Energinet explained.

In addition to tests on the land, measurements are made in the North Sea for the pipe sections, which will connect PLEM with the Norwegian gas pipeline and the new Baltic Pipe pipeline.

Once the pipelines are connected, it will be possible to send gas from Norway to Denmark and on to Poland in October next year, Energinet said.

In the project-related news, the construction of the Baltic Pipe’s offshore section was completed on 18 November when the last weld was made on the gas pipeline connecting the coasts of Denmark and Poland.

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The construction of about 275-kilometre long gas pipeline began on 27 June and took place across the maritime areas of Denmark, Sweden and Poland.

On 14 September, the offshore pipeline of the project reached landfall in Poland. Shortly after, two offshore sections, one leading from Denmark and the other pulled through the microtunnel to the landfall in Poland, were connected at sea.

The Baltic Pipe is expected to yield a €270 million saving on tariffs for Danish gas consumers despite the recent increase in the construction costs for the Danish part of the project. The increase is primarily caused by the partial suspension of construction while a new environmental permit is processed.

As reported, the capital expenditure for the Danish part of the project is now estimated at one billion euros.