Beltransgaz returns to Gazprom family
April 4, 2012
The first gas trunklines and gas laterals of the Belarusian gas transmission system were built between 1960 and 1961. The Minsk Gas Trunkline Operation Directorate was established in October 1960 to manage these facilities. It was a starting point for the ongoing development of the Belarusian gas transmission system. Nowadays, new strings of gas pipelines as well as compressor stations (CS) and underground gas storage facilities are being constructed.
In 1996 construction of the Yamal – Europe transcontinental gas pipeline was launched, and in 1999 the first 209-kilometer section was commissioned – from the Nesvizhskaya CS to the Polish border. Nowadays, five Belarusian CSs (Nesvizhskaya, Krupskaya, Slonimskaya, Minskaya and Orshanskaya) operate along the gas pipeline that reached its annual design capacity of 33 billion cubic meters after completion in 2006.
Between 2007 and 2010 Gazprom obtained a 50 per cent stake in Beltransgaz, and in November 2011 a purchase and sale agreement was signed stipulating acquisition of the remaining 50 per cent of the company, thus enabling Gazprom to obtain full ownership of Beltransgaz.
The Minskaya CS that supplies gas to Europe was commissioned on September 28, 2006. The up-to-date station is equipped with state-of-the-art gas technologies.
Linepipe Operation Centers of Beltransgaz, a map fragment.
A gas pipeline operator supervises separate compressor stations and defines the operational mode.
Five gas compressor units (GCU) operate in parallel at the CS. The capacity of each GCU – 16 MW, the aggregate capacity of all GCUs at the station – 80 MW. We had a chance to have a look around an engine room of one of the GCUs.
The gas turbine engine raises the pressure in a pipe. In the Soviet Union times, first compressor stations operated with the pressure of 40 to 50 Ata, the Minskaya CS has the discharge pressure of 85 Ata. As the pressure in a pipe rises, the number of CSs required for maintaining a gas pipeline becomes smaller. The gas pipeline sections running on the sea bottom (such as those of Nord Stream) may have the pressure of up to 220 Ata.
Stringent safety and condition monitoring requirements are applied to all fixtures and welds.
A fragment of the lubricating oil system. All nozzles are painted in different colors. Yellow – gas, brown – oil, blue – buffer air.
The Yamal – Europe gas pipeline running via Belarus is completely independent, but has interconnectors with the country’s gas pipeline system that are shut off and sealed.
The Minskaya CS occupies a small area in the Minsk suburbs. Apart from process buildings, it has administrative offices, a control center and, a little far off, an auxiliary fire station.
The blue mushroom-shaped structure is an engine air inlet. The stack is an exhaust pipe.
In order to prevent the CS equipment from early wear, incoming gas has to be treated. Cyclone dust collectors are used for these purposes.
An interconnector for possible construction of the Yamal – Europe gas pipeline’s second string.
Gas heats up after compression and needs to be chilled in a cooling tower.
The general operating principle of a cyclone dust collector is as follows: inside a cyclone the guiding devices impart a rotating movement to the gas. Centrifugal force causes hard particles and liquids to move to the periphery of a cyclone tube and sink to the lower part of the cyclone dust collector. The treated gas changes its direction and leaves the cyclone unit.
The CS doesn’t break into the main gas pipeline. The CS stands in parallel to it and is separated with valves. In the operational mode gas is withdrawn from the main gas pipeline, compressed afterwards and injected back. In case the CS is not operational, the valves are shut off, but gas is still conveyed via the gas pipeline.
Automated gas filling station
An automated gas filling station located at the Minsk circular road. One liter of natural gas costs 2,020 Belorussian rubles, which is an equivalent of 7.3 Russian rubles.
Vehicles may be filled directly from a compressor, but a better option is to use a gas storage tank. At first, gas is injected in the tank and then is taken to the filling station.
Strict safety standards are observed at the station as well as generally in the gas industry. No one should be near a vehicle being filled with gas. For instance, a taxi driver had to drop off a passenger which is unlikely to happen at a petrol filling station.