European gas consumption is increasing, and in order to meet these demands and ensure a long-term reliable supply line of energy, it was decided to establish a 1,224 kilometre dual pipeline system running from Vyborg, Russia to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany. The project is called the Nord Stream Pipeline.
The pipeline system is one of several EU priority projects which were set in motion to meet Europe’s increasing natural gas needs. While the EU’s annual demand for gas imports was approximately 307bcm (billion cubic meters) in 2011, the demand is expected to increase to 450 bcm in 2035, resulting in an annual import gap of 143bcm. The Nord Stream Pipeline will be able to meet about a third of this future import gap by connecting the world’s largest gas reserves with the European gas transmission system.
Important gas supply routeThe pipelines pass through the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of five countries and the territorial waters of Russia, Denmark and Germany, and is seen as much more than just a pipeline.
The pipeline has been hailed as one of the most important new import routes for natural gas to Europe, and is called a ‘benchmark in EU-Russia cooperation’. The project, which involved nine nationalities, called for comprehensive approval processes. Ramboll has been involved in several phases, such as assistance in the overall authority management for environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and permitting, including, for example, full EIA reports according to the Espoo Convention and national EIAs for Denmark, Sweden and Finland. As part of the approval procedure, Ramboll was deeply involved in public hearings and debates.
A challenging environmentLaying a pipeline system in the Baltic Sea naturally called for serious environmental considerations. The Baltic Sea is a unique and vulnerable environment, where especially the health of the cod stock depends on just the right balance of fresh water from rivers and salty water from the Danish straits to survive.
Furthermore, Ramboll provided assistant to the developer, Nord Stream AG, in relation to route planning and optimisation, preparation of work scope, as well as supervision of marine survey activities. The marine surveys included a meticulous screening of the seabed for dangerous munitions and wartime dumped mustard gas bombs. The aim has been to secure both the welfare of cod and the people whose livelihoods depend on their plenitude. Ramboll’s vast experience with environmental impact studies for major bridge and tunnel projects in the Danish straits since the 1990s, as well as our numerous studies for energy infrastructure projects in the Baltic Sea, have made us exceptionally qualified for this project.
Now in full operation, the Nord Stream pipelines can transport up to 55bcm of gas per year, which is sufficient to supply more than 26 million households for at least 50 years to come. Natural gas is considered a bridge to the age of renewable power, as gas-fired power plants produce about 50 percent less CO2 compared to coal-fired power plants.
Our client, Nord Stream AG, states“Besides the great quality of your work […] the special thing about Ramboll is the way in which you actually live cooperation: it’s team work rather than “contact management” and “internal processes”. It’s your understanding of who is capable of what, and utilizing these skills to boost efficiency and create a great working environment”.
- Maud Amelie Hanitzsch, Communications Manager, Nord Stream AG
Learn more about Nord Stream
Learn more about the Nord Stream pipeline project from the Nord Stream website