A Corridor for Gas

Gazprom Magazine, No.6, June 2013


Construction of a new gas transport system is moving fast ahead

The Southern Corridor project started in last December. Under this project, a system of gas trunklines 2,506 km long and 10 compressor stations with an aggregate capacity of 1,516 MW will be built over the next 7 years. The new system will deliver additional gas to Russia’s central and southern regions and into the South Stream pipeline. As in other Gazprom’s major projects, the construction will rely on cutting-edge solutions and unique technology.

The construction is split into two phases. First, the 880 km-long Western Route will be built from the Pisarevka Compressor Station in southern Voronezh Region to the Russkaya Compressor Station next to Anapa on the Black Sea coast (this part of the project also includes the connection line between the Kubanskaya and Korenovskaya compressor stations). The Russkaya Compressor Station that with its 448 MW capacity will be the world’s most powerful compressor station will act in two capacities. It will be the end point of the Southern Corridor and the starting point for the South Stream pipeline. The Western Route is due to be finished in 2015. In December 2017 the more than 1,625 km-long Eastern Route is to go on stream.

Ready to Storm Ahead

The construction that started in December is progressing fast. According to Mikhail Levchenkov, General Director, LLC Gazprom Invest (which is the customer in the Southern Corridor project), “over 300 km of linear sections have been put into trenches and the sites have been prepared for 3 compressor stations.”

In mid May, building of the Kazachya Compressor Station began in the Krymsk District, Krasnodar Area. It will have a total capacity of 200 MW and will annually compress 63 bcm of gas. Four gas pumping units with a capacity of 25 MW each manufactured by OJSC Saturn – Gas Turbines will be pumping gas through the Western Route. Once the construction of the Eastern Route kicks off the station will get another four pumping units.

The pumping units by Saturn (namely GPA-Ts-25NK/RM.S) will be used at other compressor stations of the Southern Corridor to be built, such as the Korenovskaya and Shakhtinskaya stations – the first one will have a capacity of 225 MW split into 125 MW for the Western Route and 100 MW for the Eastern Route; the second one will have 125 MW for the Western Route. Another type of units will be used at the Russkaya station which will get 14 GPA-32 Ladoga compressors manufactured by CJSC REP-Holding.

It has to be said that the Kazachya Compressor Station is in many ways a unique facility. “It would look as a big factory,” Mikhail Levchenkov said.

The reason is that a powerful pre-transportation gas treatment unit will be installed here that will strip the feedstock of moisture, heavy hydrocarbons, and solids. The objective is to make sure that the Russian gas is prepared to storm 900 km across the Black Sea. To allow gas to flow freely (without hydrating and solids deposition) through this underwater section of the South Stream pipeline, better quality gas dehydration to the desired dew point is needed.

“The unit’s peak capacity will be 192.5 mcm per day (with the average at 172 mcm),” says Anton Rae, General Director of CJSC Stroytransgaz that is the general contractor for the Kazachya Compressor Station construction. He continues that at the moment there is only one station in Russia (and across the globe) that has such a capacity – this is the Portovaya station which is part of the Nord Stream pipeline project.

The pre-transportation gas treatment unit is a huge facility weighing over 12,000 tons. “The unit’s main components,” Anton Rae explains, “are 20 adsorbers 225 tons heavy, 22m high and up to 6m wide each.”

Special Delivery

Evidently, delivering such a massive unit to the construction site requires out-of-the-box thinking and additional infrastructure will have to be set up.

Adsorbers will be delivered as follows. First, they will arrive by sea to the port of Temryuk where mooring will be reinforced to handle the large cargo. After that, the equipment will be taken upstream the Kuban River on barges to Varenikovskaya village located on the river’s left bank 35 km from Krymsk. To make that possible, a new mooring will be built there and the river bed will be dredged so that the barges can moor and be unloaded. The next item of this exciting performance is the adsorbers’ delivery to the station using special road platforms. No regular road can bear the load this is why a new track with heavy-duty pavement will be built. In the end, the pieces of equipment will be delivered to their destination and the Krasnodar Area will get additional gas supplies and new transport infrastructure facilities.

Cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions will also be used to build other compressor stations and the Southern Corridor’s linear section. Some of these have already been probed in other Gazprom projects, such as the construction of the Gryazovets-Vyborg gas trunkline. Among others, the solutions include using tubulars with flow coating that allows to pump more gas through the system or microtunneling at spots with complicated landscape (in all, there will be 9 microtunnels built). The no-flowline compressor station layout (which has also been used in the Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline) deserves a special mention. This technology implies that the compressor station’s connection to the trunkline and pig launchers and receivers will be located inside the limits of the station rather than outside it as was the case before.

Using this technology, no flowlines between the connection point to the trunkline and the station will have to be built. No-flowline layout allows carrying out all jobs related to the trunkline operation from one industrial facility. In addition, it helps save capital expenses since the facility requires less metal and construction activities and the smaller facility area reduces its environmental impact.