MOSCOW – Trans-shipment has started of the first consignment of steel pipe joints for the Nord Stream gas pipelines through the Baltic Sea.
Europipe started manufacturing the pipe in Muelheim an der Ruhr in Germany early last year, transporting the first batch in May 2008 to the Eupec weight-coating plant at Mukran on the island of Ruegen off the Baltic coast.
Nord Stream operator Gazprom stipulated that one-third of the pipe to be laid – around 400 km (248 mi) of the total pipeline length – must be available at the various logistics sites around the Baltic Sea at the start of 2010, when construction of the first pipeline is due to get under way.
After concrete coating at Mukran, the weight of each pipe joint is doubled to 25 metric tons (27.6 tons) to counteract buoyancy and to ensure stability on the seabed. Logistics contractor Sea Terminal Sassnnitz deploys specialist heavy machinery to load the completed pipe joints onto a carrier vessel operated by Swedish company ATOB Shipping.
Each shipment from Mukran, comprising an average of 160 pipe joints, will be delivered to a stock yard at the Swedish port of Karlskrona. The newly-built 90,000-sq m (968,752-sq ft) yard, completed in June, can store 13,000 lengths of pipe. Eupec oversees the handling, transport, and interim storage process.