Nord Stream repair time frame assessed
Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines, which were damaged and made inoperable by underwater explosions in late September, can be repaired within a few months.
That's according to the state-backed Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) which was citing Sten Ussing, Chief Engineer with consultant group COWI.
Ussing assessed from underwater video-footage that the pipes will not be damaged by rust for some time as there is little oxygen at a depth of 80 meters, where they are located. He noted that the fracture surfaces look “very clean and almost shiny,” which suggests that “the pipe will not rust in a few weeks, as one would expect in a more oxygenated environment.”
“We can expect corrosion inside the pipe to be limited as well,” he added.
The engineer, however, explained that the explosion caused a pressure surge, and that could have damaged sections of the pipeline some distance from the site, adding that they can be repaired by elevating the pipes slightly above the seabed, which would allow underwater welders to remove the damaged sections and replace them with new ones.
“It is standard procedure to weld such a piece of pipe under water. It has been done many times before, and the technologies – vessels, pipes and specialists – that need to be used already exist,” Ussing explained.
“Finally, the pipeline would have to be emptied, the strings cleaned of dirt and grime, blown and dried – and that's it, you can have gas flowing again,” the engineer concluded, saying the process will likely take several months. He warned, however, that even with little oxygen, the fractured pipes can accumulate rust over time, and advised to carry out the repairs within a year.
The footage of the pipeline fractures which Ussing inspected was taken by Swedish media outlet Expressen, which sent a camera down one of the pipes.
The cause of the explosions which damaged three out of four strings of Russia’s 1,200-kilometer Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines is still being investigated. Sabotage is suspected to be the likely cause. President Vladimir Putin branded it “an act of international terrorism.”
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