GAZELLE Pipeline: Environment

Impact of the pipeline on the environment and public health

Most of the pipeline is to run underground through uninhabited areas, and since natural assets must be safeguarded the pipeline’s path will avoid any protected locations or sensitive sites (such as natural or architectural monuments). It was precisely on the grounds of environmental protection that a proposed third possible route was rejected in the project, as, unlike the others, it would have impacted on a specially protected area. The primary objective of both the investor and the project designer is to return the landscape to its original state as soon as possible after the pipes have been laid.

GAZELLE Construction Site (NET4GAS)

As a general observation, it should be noted that gas pipelines are very environmentally friendly and pose no threat either for the landowners involved or nearby inhabitants. As long as the prohibition is respected on performing certain activities within a 2 metre wide protective zone to either side of the pipe’s centre line, the pipeline’s location and technical design meet the highest possible standards of safety. In forested areas a vacant strip of land of the same width is maintained. Transporting gas underground does not pollute the air like road transportation, so the only environmental impacts involved are connected with the construction work itself – digging up the earth, excavating the trench, then laying the pipes in the trench and backfilling it. However, the pipeline is not constructed all at once, and the work moves continuously forward, which means there is no stationary building site as in the case of a car factory or some other similar type of centre. Similarly, the numbers of workers and machines needed for the individual sections of the construction cannot be compared with those used when building large halls. All the machinery involved will move only within a working strip marked out with stakes, and on access roads with a width of 36 m in open terrain and 30 m in forested areas.

There are no known health problems associated with the installation of gas pipelines in the vicinity of housing. Their operation does not produce noise or dust, and they do not emit any radiation or release waste products into the air. No wastewater or pollutants are discharged into surface waters, so there is no impact on the quality of surface water, groundwater or water resources.

The Czech Ministry of the Environment has granted permission for the construction work on the basis of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out in accordance with Act No. 100/2001 Coll. This study examined all the possible impacts of the construction and the operation of the pipeline on public health and the environment, including the impacts on wildlife and plants, ecosystems, the soil, water resources, the air, climate and landscape, natural resources, tangible assets and cultural heritage sites.

Safety of high-pressure pipelines

Over the more than thirty years that natural gas has been transported from Russia to the Czech Republic, there has not been a single interruption of supply or accident resulting in fatalities or large-scale material damage. Thanks to the modern technology used and the safety requirements applied, a pipeline explosion is extremely unlikely. Construction of high-pressure pipelines is subject to stringent safety standards.

The pipes to be used in the construction are made of high strength steel and all welds are subjected to testing. Hydrostatic tests are also carried out on every section of the new pipeline. To prevent corrosion, the pipes and welds are fitted with factory insulation and cathodic protection.

Before launching operation, a “stress test” must be performed, in which water pressure is used to verify the tightness of the pipes, valves and other equipment.

A programme of monitoring and maintenance is carefully adhered to during the operation of every high-pressure pipeline. Periodic internal inspections are also performed to ensure the pipeline’s reliability. This procedure detects any material deterioration or internal defects by monitoring changes in the magnetic field. These measurements are carried out using a special piston-like inspection device known as a “pig”, which travels at approximately 3 m/s through the inside of the pipes. The pig is fitted with magnets, magnetic field sensors, and a computer with recording equipment. By analysing the measured values it is possible to detect critical points in the pipes so that subsequent maintenance procedures can be determined.

The pipeline is cleaned once a year using a cleaning pig, which is inserted into the pipeline at a junction point and propelled through the pipes during operation by the pressure of the gas inside. Dirt and deposits which are scraped from the inner surface of the pipes by rubber cups on the pig are discharged from the terminal chamber at the end of the cleaned section into a separator followed by a secured waste tank. A specialised company then carries out the disposal of this waste.

About NET4GAS:

NET4GAS is a reliable, strong and secure long-distance gas pipeline network operator who guarantees domestic and foreign partners availability of the transport capacity they need. All gas distributors are guaranteed non-discriminatory access to the gas transport system. NET4GAS s.r.o transports natural gas in the Czech Republic using a pipeline network that is 3,642 kilometres in length.

Contact for press:

Milan Řepka
Company Spokesman
T: +420 220 225 427
M: +420 739 537 461