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pipeline construction in Poland using GRUNDORAM Taurus

08.04.19 - The Polish group GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. is a strategic business in the Polish economy; it is responsible for the natural gas supply network and operates the most important gas pipelines in Poland. As part of their 2015 – 2025 investment programme, GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. is planning to construct over 2.000 km of new gas pipelines in the west, south and east of Poland. The continued development of the national pipeline network, including the construction of new gas pipelines within the North-South Gas Corridor and the construction of connecting pipelines to neighbouring countries, will boost Poland's energy security and make an important contribution to the expansion of the European pipeline network.

Six mega-projects

On 14th October 2013, the European Commission published a list of Projects of Common Interests (PCIs); six of these projects are infrastructure investments made by GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. that are particularly important with regard to increasing the security and diversification of the natural gas supply in Europe and with regard to the establishment of an integrated, competitive market.
 
In valid cases, this status will allow the selected projects to receive co-funding from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as part of EU funds that have been included in the EU's 2014 – 2020 budget outlook. They also benefit from simplified procedures for planning and granting environmental permits. GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. infrastructure projects with PCI status belong to two regional gas initiatives:
 
1. Gas connection pipelines running north-south in Central, East and South-East Europe"Western line of the North-South Corridor" in Poland with the fusion of the Polish and Czech integrated grid "Eastern line of the North-South Corridor" in Poland with the link between Poland and Slovakia
 
2. Planned interconnection work on the Baltic energy market for the Baltic Sea (BEMIP)
-Connection pipeline between Poland and Lithuania
-The Baltic pipe project
-Expanding the LNG terminal in Swinoujscie
-Expanding the entry points in the Yamal gas pipeline in Lwówek and Wloclawek
 

Tough demands

The construction of the Strachocina-Pogórska Wola pipeline is an important step in the implementation of the Polish North-South Gas Corridor, which will enable bidirectional gas transport along the north-south axis. This section in southern Poland is 97 km long and is part of the sizeable gas connection pipelines in the "Western line of the North-South Corridor"; GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. plans to complete it in 2020.
 
Near the small town of Sowina, around 30 km north-west of the district town of Krosno, this natural gas pipeline, which is made of steel pipes with an outer diameter of 1016 mm and a wall thickness of 22.2 mm, has to cross a wide street and its drainage ditches. Initially, the external conditions seemed poor – there was no access to drive onto the construction site, the terrain was very uneven, the substrate consisted of extremely hard, compact, dry loam (like concrete) with large stones and rocky areas, and the width of the street including the hard shoulder and drainage ditches was a considerable 16 m.

Precise, fast and reliable

It was soon clear – crossing this street would require underground steel pipe installation using a strong horizontal ram. PHU "MOLDRÓG" Ryszard Przydatek from Zlotoryja was the perfect company to enlist in order to solve this problem. This company has specialised in the trenchless installation of large pipes under streets, railway lines, rivers and other obstacles for years, and is a pioneer of trenchless technology in the Polish market with outstanding knowledge of a range of technologies. To pass underneath the street, the MOLDRÓG team purposefully opted to use a GRUNDORAM Taurus steel pipe rammer – the second strongest ram available. This pipe rammer, which can produce 18,600 Nm of impact energy, can ram protective steel pipes and/or utility pipes measuring up to 2,500 mm in diameter and up to 80 metres in length into soil classes 1–5 without the need for an abutment for pipe jacking. It turned out to be the perfect choice for multiple reasons. Firstly, this construction project was expected to be completed in an extremely short time frame and, secondly, it could provide the high dimensional accuracy and targeted precision necessary for this task. Pinpoint accuracy can be achieved during the pile-driving process because the dynamic impact of the pipe's diameter penetrates various soil formations, meaning that entire obstacles do not have to be pushed aside. The soil that is collected inside the open steel pipe during the installation process is removed once the pipe has been driven in.
 

Professional implementation

The start pit and target pit were excavated in no time, taking into account the individual pipe length of 12 m and the dimensions of the GRUNDORAM Taurus, with a respective length of 17 m and width of approximately 2.5 m. After this step, work could begin: An add-on cone was used to connect the rammer to the steel pipe (outer diameter 1,016 mm) to be driven so that they would not shear. To ensure pinpoint accuracy, a starting cradle was positioned axially behind the pipe. The steel pipes were then driven one after the other for around 33 m using the GRUNDORAM at a depth of around 5 m in the extremely compact loam substrate with embedded rocky areas. To prevent the pipe insulation from being damaged, a cutting shoe designed specifically by MOLDRÓG for this purpose was used. Multi-part impact segments were used to ensure that the impact energy was transferred optimally, while an emptying adapter was used to remove some of the soil in the pipe during the driving process. The tunnelling speed was 1.5 m/h, which meant that it took 22 hours in total to drive the 33 m long stretch of soil.
 

More to come

This steel pipe installation near Sowina has completed yet another section of the Strachocina-Pogórska Wola gas pipeline. A total of 20 underground crossings of various types have been or will be implemented as part of this project. This guarantees another small proportion of Poland's energy security and has contributed further to the expansion of the European pipeline network. Everyone involved in this European project can be proud of their achievements: Contracting authority and operator GAZ-SYSTEM S.A., construction company MOLDRÓG Ryszard Przydatek and machine manufacturer TRACTO-TECHNIK.
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