A team of Volvo pipelayers are getting in the groove, helping to deliver Greece’s most ambitious high pressured natural gas pipeline.
DESFA, the gas transmission system operator in Greece has ordered state owned public gas corporation, DEPA SA, to supply the country’s largest and most expensive high-pressured natural gas pipeline ever.
A large, on-going infrastructure development in the south east of Greece might be a rare sight in the current economic climate, but the DESFA Project has been in motion since the summer of 2012. DEPA SA expects the pipeline to be ready for gas transportation in late 2013, which will make a significant contribution to the Greek National Gas Transmission System (NGTS).
DEPA SA has awarded the project to TÜV AUSTRIA HELLAS, after the successful participation in an open public bid. Covering a distance of 164 km, the pipeline will start in Agioi Theodoroi, a suburb of Athens located in the southeast, and end at the premises of PPC Megalopolis, a power plant in the southwestern part of Arcadia, southern Greece, situated on the coast, which separates the Peloponnese region from the mainland.
Pipeline contractor, Joannou & Paraskevaides Limited (J&P) is the second largest construction company in Greece and is using Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) excavator-based pipelayers for the first time after seeing an impressive lowering-in demonstration during a visit to America. J&P is relying 100% on Volvo CE’s pipe laying technology for all pipe handling duties with not an old fashioned side boom in sight.
Environmental and economic benefits
Travelling across the furthest distance, 24 inch wide pipe will be used, with around 16 km of 30 inch wide pipe used for a smaller section of the project. The pipeline will enable modern technology to be used in the production of electricity with minimal environmental impact.
The resulting production capacity will stabilize the electricity network in south west Greece, to satisfy the region’s growing demand. It will also allow other generating stations currently running on lignite, oil or gas to be replaced and, eventually, closed.
It will result in a reduction of pollutants such as NOx, CO, SO² and CO²; combining environmental and economic advantages since the cost for natural gas is lower than crude oil.
To help out with the earth works and welding, J&P is using sub-contractors, but has retained about 50 of its own employees. The earth works started in Megalopolis in the Peloponnese, (the end of the pipeline), are continuing towards Agioi Theodoroi. Liquefied natural gas (LNG), mainly from Algeria as well as gas from Russia, will be processed through the refinery and transported to the electrical power station in Megalopolis.
Power for the people
At the time of writing, the pipeline project is slightly ahead of schedule, despite periods of heavy rain that made conditions slippery and difficult. Furthermore, landscape in the Peloponnese region is mountainous and while altitudes are not very high. The contractor has regularly encountered steep slopes.
On the job site there are five Volvo PL4608 pipelayers (80 ton tipping capacity) and three of the latest and smaller PL3005D models (50 ton tipping capacity). Mr John Joannou, responsible for machine procurement at J&P said: “I was impressed by the machine’s excellent stability. The 360 degree swing capability, cab comfort and the Load Management System are much appreciated on this hilly project.”
The pipelayer operators were quick to learn how the unique swing capability can help them in such conditions. By enabling the operator to point the boom uphill, this function effectively moves the machine’s center of gravity, increasing its stability when working on slopes.