One hundred thousand of the pipes needed for the Nord Stream Pipeline have now been concrete weight coated. In total about 202,000 concrete weight coated steel pipes will be needed for the two strings of the 1,224 kilometres natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea.
The pipes are being concrete weight coated by Nord Stream's coating and logistics partner EUPEC, which has weight coating plants in Mukran, Germany, and in Kotka, Finland, dedicated to construction of the Nord Stream Pipeline.
So far, approximately 62,000 pipe segments have been concrete weight coated in Mukran and 38,000 in Kotka. During the whole project, the Mukran plant will produce about 126,000 weight coated pipes (60 percent), and the Kotka plant approximately 76,000 (40 percent) of the pipes needed for the two strings of the pipeline. EUPEC´s coating plants have been coating pipes for the Nord Stream project in Mukran since spring 2009 and in Kotka since summer 2009. EUPEC employs over 200 people at each production site.
EUPEC is responsible for the concrete weight coating, storage and transshipment of the pipes for the Nord Stream project. In addition to Mukran and Kotka, EUPEC has interim storage yards in Karlskrona and Slite, Sweden and Hanko, Finland.
Concrete weight coating ranging from 60 millimetres to 110 millimetres in thickness is applied to the 12 metre long 1,158 millimetre diameter pipes. The steel pipes have an average weight of 11 tonnes, and the concrete weight coating brings the total weight of each pipe up to about 24 tonnes and guarantees the stability of the pipes when laid on the seabed.
Approximately 230 kilometres of the first string of the Nord Stream Pipeline have been laid so far, and it is planned that this fist pipeline will be operational in 2011. After that, the construction for the second string of the pipeline will start, and it is planned that the twin pipelines will be fully operational in 2012. Nord Stream will transport 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas to Europe annually, which is enough gas to supply for the needs of 26 million households.