Frankenthal, Germany -- Since April this year, the crew on the first pipe-laying ship has been working hard in the Baltic Sea, laying the gas lines of the Nord Stream Pipeline Project, which is to run between Vyborg in Russia and Greifswald in the eastern part of Germany.
About 200 000 pipes will have to be welded together, meaning 200 000 weld seams will have to be sheathed and protected against damage, said Christof Grieser-Schmitz, head of Pipe Isolation
at BASF Polyurethanes GmbH, Lemfoerde, Germany.Elastopor H, an open-cell polyurethane rigid foam, is being used here and BASF Polyurethane has refined and optimised its strength and processing speed for this demanding use.
For Nord Stream, a consortium of OAO Gazprom, BASF SE/Wintershall Holding, E.ON Ruhrgas and Nederlandse Gasunie, its pipeline will connect Russia to the European Union via the Baltic Sea and has the goal of securely supplying businesses and households with natural gas in the future, said Grieser-Schmitz, speaking 24 June at a BASF event in Frankenthal to preview the K 2010 event being held in Duesseldorf, Germany, 27 Oct-3 Nov.
Over the next two years, the two pipe-laying companies Saipem and the Allseas Group will deploy three ships to lay two 1220 km-long pipeline conduits on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The big challenge for Nord Stream is logistics: three pipe-laying ships, five marshalling yards and five countries.
In April 2010, Saipem's "Castoro Sei" set out to sea carrying polyurethane components made by BASF Polyurethanes to lay about 2.5 km of pipeline will be laid per day. In August of 2010, the Allseas vessel "Solitaire" is scheduled to join the team.
The optimised Elastopor H is a two-part system mixed on site using special metering machines and then filled into the hollow space in the sleeve. An exothermic reaction with a foaming agent forms the foamed polyurethane, Grieser-Schmitz explained.
Good flow properties mean the PU fills the hollow space rapidly and evenly. To prevent the polyurethane rigid foam being buoyant, it is open-celled so that hydrostatic pressure causes it to fill up completely with water, Grieser-Schmitz added.
See more on this project in the August/September issue of Urethanes Technology International.