Wasco Coating has started work on the concrete weight coating of the Nord Stream 2 pipes, the company reported on March 27, 2017.
The pipes will be part of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which carry Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to the EU.
Concrete weight coating done by Wasco will add stability of the pipeline on the seabed.
Wasco is conducting the work in its plant in Kotka, Finland, where the pipe coating and logistics operations will employ 300 persons during peak production.
The Nord Stream 2 company, said on March 25, 2017, that almost half of the 200,000 pipes needed for the entire project would be concrete weight coated in Wasco’s plant in the Port of Hamina Kotka.
Also, Wasco already hired 195 people for its coating plant operations, and during peak production, it will employ up to 300 workers directly and around 100 persons indirectly.
Coating for the Nord Stream 2 project will continue in Kotka until late 2018.
To date, Wasco’s Kotka storage yard has received over 35,000 pipes from the pipe mills, and once the pipes have been coated with concrete, part of them will be stored indirectly in Kotka and the rest will be stored in Koverhar, Finland.
During construction, coated pipes will be fed from the storage yards to the pipelay vessels.
Concrete weight coating increases pipeline stability on the seabed, as the concrete doubles to 24 tonnes the weight of each 12 meter, 48-inch diameter pipe joint.
The coating also protects the pipes from external damage when they are stored, transported, and lowered onto the seabed.
The company added that the start of coating in Kotka is considered yet another milestone for the Nord Stream 2 project and that the company has already closed all major contracts.
To remind, Wasco signed the contract with Nord Stream 2 for the provision of storage and concrete weight coating for approximately 2,400 km of pipes in July last year.
Opposition from Sweden
While everything is going smoothly in Finland, Wasco had its share of problems in Sweden.
In December 2016, authorities of the Swedish Region Gotland and the municipality Karlshamn decided not to sign an agreement for the utilization of their harbors, Slite and Karlshamn, for the storage of piping for the project due to security concerns.
As a consequence, Wasco Coatings had not been able to sign contracts for the use of these harbors for pipe transhipments.
At the time, Nord Stream 2 and Wasco decided to look for alternative logistics facilities if both Swedish municipalities take a formal decision preventing the use of the harbors.
However, the Karlshamn municipality opted to sign an agreement for the use of its port earlier this year despite initial hesitation and concerns.
Wasco will in total use four ports for the pipe logistics of the Nord Stream 2 project: Mukran in Germany, Kotka and Hanko in Finland, and Karlshamn in Sweden.
While it has previously been reported that the Nord Stream 2 project is operated by Gazprom, with the German companies E.ON SE and BASF SE/Wintershall Holding GmbH, the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell plc, the Austrian OMV AG and the French ENGIE S.A. acting as partners, it has been reported that Gazprom’s board of directors recently agreed to acquire another 50 % of the shares of Nord Stream 2 AG, making it a full owner of the project.