May 2019, Vol. 246, No. 5


Baltic Pipeline Project to Carry Norwegian Gas to Eastern Europe

By Nicholas Newman, Contributing Editor

Danish gas transmission operator Energinet and Polish gas transmission operator GAZ-System are jointly planning a new bidirectional transnational pipeline, linking the Norwegian North Sea offshore gas fields with markets in both Denmark and Poland.

Source: P&GJ/Energy Web Atlas

The proposal supersedes that of the 2001 proposal by Denmark’s Orstead (previously DONG) and Polish oil and gas company Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA (PGNiG), which was suspended on doubts as to its economic feasibility.

This Baltic pipe development will carry Norwegian gas to the Danish, Polish, and Eastern European gas markets, thereby injecting greater competition to gas supplies. In time, the pipeline will be connected to the Polish Baltic Sea LNG import terminal of Świnoujście, operated by Polskie LNG S.A., a subsidiary of Gaz-System. This connection, once completed, will in turn facilitate LNG exports to Denmark and Sweden.

The strategic significance of this new project lies in its ability to help both Denmark and Poland to meet their Paris Accord commitments. For Denmark, this project provides potentially lower gas bills.

For Poland, the additional gas will facilitate the country’s transition from coal-powered generation and heating to natural gas for power production and district heating systems. This shift away from coal will significantly reduce the country’s emissions. And, finally yet importantly, Poland’s negotiating position with Russia’s Gazprom, its traditional gas supplier, will be strengthened.

Costing $2 billion, and 560-mile (900-km), it will increase Eastern Europe’s energy security and simultaneously reduce dependence on Russian gas. Unlike its predecessor, this project has gained financial support from the EU.

Project Details

The promoters of this Baltic pipe plan expect it to have a lifespan of 50 years and enough capacity to supply 10 billion square meters (m3) of natural gas to Poland and 3 billion m³ of natural gas to both the Swedish and Danish markets.

This project encompasses five main sections: (1) the North Sea offshore pipeline, (2) onshore in Denmark a pipeline upgrade, (3) a Danish compressor station, (4) the Baltic Sea offshore pipeline, (5) an onshore Polish gas grid link (Figure 1).  

Macro alias: ImagePopup

Section1: Energinet (68-mile) 110-km North Sea pipeline will connect the Danish Transmission grid to Europipe II 

The new North Sea Pipeline will connect the Danish transmission grid through a tie-in with Europipe II, which carries Norwegian gas to Germany. Prospective owner Energinet, is responsible for planning, constructing and operating the North Sea 800-mm pipeline at pressures ranging between 8.5 megapascal pressure units (MPa) and 11MPa.

Section 2: Energinet’s 143 miles of new Pipeline in Denmark

This section involves upgrading the existing Danish onshore pipeline grid and constructing a 143-mile (230-km) pipeline linking Blåbjerg on the West Coast with the south eastern part of the country on the island of Zealand, which faces the Baltic. Energinet, the owner, is responsible for planning, constructing, and operating this section.


Section 3:  Energinet’s new compressor station on Zealand

The compressor station, co-financed by Gaz-System, will be built on a 20-acre site at Faxe South on the island of Zealand and the start of the Baltic Sea section of the project.


Section 4:  Gaz-System’s Baltic Sea subsea pipeline connecting the Danish and Polish gas grids

This section, the Baltic Sea subsea pipeline, will operate at a pressure range between 6.7 MPa and 12 MPa and connect Faxe South in Denmark to Niechorze-Pogorzelica in Poland.

 It will take the longer route via the Swedish economic area rather than the more direct route via the German exclusive economic zone in the area. Gaz-System, the prospective owner is responsible for pipeline’s design, construction and future operation.


Section 5: Pipeline to Lwówek and compressor station at Goleniów

In Poland, once it makes landfall, near the Świnoujście LNG terminal, a new onshore pipeline will be built, linking the Baltic coast at Niechorze-Pogorzelica with Lwówek, to connect with the Polish branch of the Jamal gas pipeline, which supplies Russian gas to much of Poland and Germany. A new compressor station will also be built at Goleniów (Figure 2).

Baltic Pipe Project 
Development Details

It was not until October 2013 that the European Union recognised the value of creating a link between Norwegian gas fields, Denmark and Poland by deeming it a Project of Common Interest.

In 2016 GAZ-System and Energinet completed the project’s feasibility study and subsequently the latter signed an agreement with GASSCO (its Norwegian counterpart) regarding construction of the tie-in to the Norwegian gas pipeline Europipe II and a pipeline to the Danish west coast, which will enable gas flow from Norway to Denmark and Poland.

The final investment decision was made in November 2018. Under current expectations, the actual tendering process will start at the beginning of 2019 while the environmental impact report will be submitted to each affected country for public consultation. The offshore construction works are set to begin at the start of 2020 and all work is expected to be completed planned by 2022. 

As with many projects in Europe, part of the initial preparatory funding comes from the European Union, under two initiatives named Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) instrument and the Trans-European Networks for Energy Program (TEN-E).

In 2009, GAZ-System received $4.42 million under the TEN-E program for preparatory works for the Baltic pipe project. In 2015, the EU contributed $500,000 under its Connecting Europe program toward the feasibility study for a Baltic Pipeline. Finally, in 2018, the European Commission signed a co-financing agreement with Gaz-System and Energinet worth $24.3 million (33.1 million euros), under the Connecting Europe Facility mechanism.

The EU’s financial contribution of just over $29 million and its seal of approval under the Project of Common Interest combined with the two main developer’s credentials assure the project’s successful completion.

Design engineering consultancies Danish Ramboll and Polish Gazoprojekt, working with management consultants Ernst & Young, completed a project feasibility study in 2016. 

For the Danish sections of the pipeline, Danish engineering consulting companies IKM and COWI are engaged as consultants for the North Sea offshore section and the Danish onshore sections of the Baltic Pipe project.

For the Polish section of the pipeline, Ramboll, working on behalf of Gaz-System, completed a series of environmental assessments and designs for the subsea pipeline section that crosses the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Poland in August 2017.

In addition, for the onshore sections of the Polish component of the project a consortium led by Polish design engineering consultants Gazoprojekto and ILF Consulting provided detailed engineering designs in December 2017.

Once this project is complete, it should open new sources of competitive and secure natural gas to customers in these western Baltic countries. In addition, it will aid them in their transition to low carbon power generation in keeping with the Paris Accords. P&GJ

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