Nov. 10, 2011
The landfall facility in Lubmin, Germany is not only the place where the Nord Stream Pipelines exit the Baltic Sea, but also where the gas from the pipelines is transferred into the European gas grid. In an interview, Mikhail Sarakhan, Site Supervisor Landfall Facilities Germany, Nord Stream explains just what takes place at the facility.
What function does the landfall facility in Lubmin, Germany fulfil?
Mikhail Sarakhan: Let me start by explaining that the landfall facility in Lubmin actually consists of two complexes: Nord Stream's landfall facility in Germany in the offshore and onshore areas, and the actual receiving terminal of the the connecting natural gas pipelines, OPAL and NEL. The Nord Stream complex transfers the gas that travels 1,224 kilometres through the Baltic Sea to OPAL and NEL. The Pipeline Inspection Gauges (PIGs) are also received here in the PIG traps as part of the inspection process.
Are there any Nord Stream representatives on site, and what duties and responsibilities do they have?
Two people represent Nord Stream AG on site. We are the interface between the Nord Stream operations unit in Zug, the landfall facility in Lubmin, and the operators of the connecting OPAL and NEL pipelines. Together we operate our facility in a safe, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective manner that is in line with all rules and regulations.
What was the greatest challenge in constructing the landfall area?
On the Nord Stream side, it was installing the huge shut down valves and the double gate valves. For OPAL and NEL it was the construction of a micro tunnel under the Lubmin harbour, through which the OPAL and NEL gas pipelines had to be fitted to the millimetre.
What occurs if a fire breaks out or a leak is discovered in the landfall area?
There are numerous gas and fire detect-ors installed for this eventuality. For example, if the gas or fire alarm is raised from two detectors in different zones of the landfall facility, our intake valves will automatically be closed, and the relief valves opened in order to clear the facilities of natural gas. If a fire alarm is triggered, the on-site fire department will also be summoned. Additionally, all responsible parties will be notified by our dispatching centres in order for us to be on site as quickly as possible.
How does Nord Stream ensure that it never delivers more gas than can be processed at the landfall facility?
We employ several systems to take care of that. The Nord Stream landfall facility is designed for an operating pressure of 177.5 bar. If, despite the monitoring system, this pressure level is exceeded, our intake valves will close in order to protect our facility.
What are the most important safety measures for operating the landfall facility?
Adhering to the safety regulations for natural gas facilities, which would include, for example, smoking bans. Safety measures also include securing the infrastructure that transports the natural gas, and the entire landfall facility. The gas transportation facilities can be shut down manually and remotely.