Network operator Elering, recently granted the building rights for the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland, announced investments of some €135 million over the next few years, €98 million of which will come out of European Union funds.
Elering has had tenders out for the construction of the pipeline since 2017, covering its offshore as well as its onshore sections. For the section that will run under the sea floor, the company has already found a contractor. The announcement of the winning bid for the pipeline's Estonian onshore section is expected in March this year.
The aim is to add the connection to the network in 2020. The pipeline's peak capacity is planned to be 2 billion cubic meters a year and 300,000 cubic meters an hour. The offshore section of Balticconnector is currently planned with a diameter of 635 millimeters and a total length of 77 kilometers (47.8 miles).
The gas conduit itself will have a diameter of 508 millimeters at a wall thickness of 15.9 millimeters. The inside of the conduit will be covered with a layer of epoxy resin to reduce friction and increase flow.
The outside of the pipeline will be covered with 3.5 millimeters of three-layer of a corrosion-free material, followed by 40 to 60 millimeters of concrete. The pipeline will be built out of 12-meter sections (roughly 40 feet) welded together.
Construction requires buffer zone, special measures due to dumped munitions
A 1.5-kilometer zone will be kept up around the lay vessels during constructions to minimize interference and negative effects on industries and transport.
Because the submarine section of the pipeline goes through the Gulf of Finland, which to this day still contains plenty of remnants of weapons and dumped ammunition as well as wrecks and other obstacles, the construction will take place with a considerably higher level of caution.
Sonar surveys conducted across a corridor three nautical miles wide showed some 12 ship wrecks on the sea floor, though none of them was found to be exactly on the planned route of the Balticconnector pipeline.
The new pipeline will also cross the two existing Nord Stream conduits.
Editor: Dario Cavegn