GAZ-SYSTEM accepted the recommended route variant of the Baltic Pipe offshore pipeline
GAZ-SYSTEM accepted the variant of the offshore pipeline route recommended by Ramboll – a contractor in charge of technical and environmental documentation. The total length of the selected route is 275 km and it crosses the territorial sea of Denmark and Poland as well as the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (approx. 80 km). The variant also designated two recommended landfall locations – Faxe South in Denmark and Niechorze-Pogorzelica in Poland. Accepting the recommendation does not imply, however, the final decision regarding the route of the pipeline. Such a resolution will only be possible once all necessary administrative decisions and permits have been obtained.
Since October 2017, Ramboll has been conducting thorough environmental, geophysical and geotechnical surveys in order to identify the most favourable and the safest pipeline route across the Baltic Sea. The recommended route has been analysed and compared against several alternative variants mainly in terms of its environmental, technical and socio-economic impacts. Moreover, the methods of future construction works were also assessed in order to minimize the consequences and mitigate potential risks to the environment and ensure the highest safety level of the entire investment project.
The Investor and the engineering team of Ramboll applied 3 main criteria in evaluation of each of the route variants:
- The environmental – eliminating or minimising actions that could potentially have a negative impact on the environment, including in particular on the protected areas, eg. optimising the routing and avoiding impacts in areas where the particularly sensitive receptors reside in the maritime environment; scheduling the construction works with consideration to periods of occurrence of the protected species in the Baltic Sea; selection of pipeline laying methods that would have less impact on the environment, both in relation to the habitats of living organisms, as well as having regard to their access to feeding areas.
- The socio- economic – minimising restrictions for existing users on the Baltic Sea and at landfalls in Poland and in Denmark, eg. fishing areas, maritime navigation, raw material extraction areas, existing and planned offshore wind farms, conventional and chemical munition dumping areas, wrecks, military areas or farms.
- The technical – minimising collisions with the existing pipelines, cables, wind farms at sea and other obstacles, minimising the total length of the gas pipeline, reducing the seabed intervention, avoiding the shallow water areas where the installation of subsea pipeline would require special pipe laying vessels.
Accepting the route recommended by the contractor does not imply that the selected variant has been finally approved for implementation. In the following phases of the project, the Investor will need to obtain a package of decisions and permits in all countries where the Baltic Pipe project is to be carried out, including decisions on environmental conditions, location decisions for the pipeline route in the designated corridor, and building permits. Only when all those permits and decisions have been obtained, the final route of the gas pipeline can be eventually determined.
The future of the Baltic Pipe project was discussed at a conference held on 20 June 2018, at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.