Stepping up to a logistical challenge: pipe deliveries

How do you source enough pipes to build one of the longest subsea pipelines in the world? And how do you deliver the first pipes within just months? This was the challenge facing Nord Stream 2’s expert team, which launched a major logistics operation to meet the pipeline’s tight delivery deadlines. By Autumn 2016, the first pipe deliveries had already begun.

At 1,200 km in length, the Nord Stream 2 twin pipeline requires some 200,000 individual pipe segments, each 12 metres long and weighing over 20 tonnes. Nord Stream 2 invited three specialist manufacturers to produce high-quality 1,153-mm diameter steel pipe segments: Europipe in Germany, and Chelpipe and OMK in Russia.

The pipe segments are manufactured at each company’s pipe mill, where they also receive an internal coating to minimise friction, as well as an external coating consisting of three layers of polyethylene to prevent corrosion. The pipes are examined to meet the highest international quality standards and are certified by TÜV Nord.

The first pipe joints were delivered to the coating plant in Kotka, Finland, on 26 September 2016

The quality-assured pipes are then delivered by rail to Nord Stream 2’s logistics hubs in Mukran, Germany and Kotka, Finland. There, the pipes undergo concrete weight coating to improve their stability and durability on the seabed, before being transported to storage facilities around the Baltic Sea and ultimately to the pipe-lay vessels.

Nord Stream 2 follows the award-winning ‘green logistics’ concept successfully implemented by Nord Stream. It is based on selection of low-emission means of transport travelling the shortest possible distances from pipe-mill to coating plant to storage yard to vessel.

The pipes are stored in Kotka, ready for concrete weight coating