First gas flows between Denmark and Norway after Baltic Pipe North Sea construction ends

Energinet has completed all work on the Baltic Pipe project in the North Sea, after several years of preparation and construction work.

According to the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), the extensive construction work in the North Sea has been completed and this weekend there was a “hole through” from the Norwegian gas pipeline Europipe II.

This means that the gas can flow through the over 120-kilometer-long new gas pipe which is connected to Europipe II and led all the way to the receiving terminal in Nybro by Varde.

“It’s a really big day for the Baltic Pipe project. The gas application went as planned. We have kept to the schedule and lived up to the quality requirements, but we have also spent a year and a half preparing for this commissioning,” said Mark Christian Degn Eskesen, technical project lead.

To mark the milestone, a small figure was put down on the bottom of the North Sea. Source: Energinet

The visible part of the North Sea work began when the gas pipe was drilled in 2020 through the dunes on Houstrup Strand on Jutland’s west coast. 

Shortly before Christmas, the pipeline end manifold (PLEM) was placed on the seabed. When PLEM was securely on the bottom, the connection pieces were measured and then manufactured in Norway so that they could be installed in February or March this year.

The commissioning took place in such a way that gas was first sent through from Denmark towards Europipe II. The valves were then opened so that the gas could flow in the opposite direction. In recent weeks, the gas pressure has been quietly raised to 130 bar.

The PLEM structure which connects Baltic Pipe and Europipe II. Source: Energinet

“The whole operation has gone well, but there are always challenges in such a large project. We had to make sure that the necessary vessels could be present at sea at certain times and we have had some technical challenges due to last-minute design changes,” Degn Eskesen said.

“We have actually been lucky with the weather, but occasionally we had 5-6 meter high waves. As we have worked on relatively shallow water – 40 meters depth – the waves affect the seabed extremely much, so visibility has at times been limited and down to around 30-50 centimeters, which makes the work demanding.”

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Although gas can now come ashore from the North Sea, it will be a few more months before consumers can benefit from the project. 

The expansion of the receiving terminal in Nybro must be completed, as well as other parts of the project.

Baltic Pipe is scheduled for partial commissioning this October and full commissioning on 1 January 2023.