By Michael Rothenborg
We are building missing energy links; we are uniting markets, we are improving security of supply and increasing competition by providing alternative supply channels. But more importantly we are ending the energy isolation of Member States.”
These were the words of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the signing ceremony of the ‘Balticconnector’ pipeline with the Estonian and Finnish Prime Ministers in October 2016.
The Balticconnector is an offshore gas transportation pipeline about 81 km (50 miles) long interconnecting the Finnish and Estonian distribution networks. But the Baltic Pipe is an even more important step in the plan to strengthen European energy market resilience and is thus an EU project of common interest.
Natural gas – the most climate-friendly of the fossil fuels – represents around a quarter of the EU’s overall energy consumption. As gas demand is projected to remain relatively stable, supply security has moved up on the EU’s foreign policy agenda.
The Baltic Pipe aims at creating a new supply corridor in the European gas market and will for the first time enable shippers to transport gas directly from Norway via Denmark to the markets in Poland and neighbouring countries like Lithuania and the Czech Republic.
Moreover, shippers will be able to transport gas bi-directionally from Poland to the Danish-Swedish market, thus improving Denmark’s and Sweden’s security of gas supply.
Credible cost-benefit analyses
Ramboll recently performed a feasibility study for the Baltic Pipe in a joint venture with local partners Gazoprojekt and Ernst & Young, thoroughly assessing the project’s socioeconomic, financial and technical feasibility. The study rated the various technical alternatives and proposed a market model that will ensure Baltic Pipe capacity is used more efficiently.
Ramboll brought its broad experience from pipeline design, its understanding of the challenges associated with gas inter-connectors between countries and, last but not least, its history of energy planning around the Baltic Sea, starting back in the 1980s.
“One of the main reasons our team was chosen was because our cost-benefit analyses had very low uncertainty, thus giving policy-makers a sound and unbiased decision-making basis,” explains Senior Director Per Jørgensen of Ramboll Oil & Gas.
A significant step
The Danish energinet.dk confirms that the Ramboll team was selected for its high-quality analyses:
“Establishing the viability of the project is a significant step towards a common goal of providing affordable, secure and sustainable energy to the citizens of the Nordic and Central Eastern European community,” says Sofie Leweson, Project Manager, energinet.dk.
Energy and environmental experts from Ramboll are involved in, for example, the concept study for the offshore gas pipeline and an environmental impact assessment that will determine optimal landing points and potential sites for a gas compressor station on the Zealand coast.
Ramboll has offices in all three countries concerned – Poland, Denmark and Norway. The Baltic Pipe is expected to be completed by 2022.