Expansion of Mallorca's gas network
Reducing energy costs, creating jobs, meeting environmental standards
In 2008, Spain prepared the way for the expansion of the gas network in Mallorca, with three objectives in mind: Firstly, reduce annual energy costs caused by tourism by over 9 million euros; secondly, enhance the stability of the power grid and thus encourage the establishment of new industrial enterprises; and thirdly, implement the environmental protection regulations of the EU.
To enable the expansion of the gas network on the Balearic Islands, Mallorca and Ibiza had to be connected to it via a 320 km natural gas pipeline from the Spanish mainland through the Mediterranean Sea. Construction work for the "Gasoducte Península-Illes Balears" project was started in 2008 and completed in 2010. Commissioning of the new pipeline marked the achievement of the first subgoal: the obsolete coal-fired power plant Central Térmica de Sant Joan de Déu in Palma was closed down.
Network expansion in several phases
A further important step was the expansion of the gas network north of Palma de Mallorca between the combined-cycle power plant Son Reus and the gas-fired power plant Es Murterar in Alcúdia in the northeast. For the construction of the 47 km natural-gas pipeline, the Spanish gas supplier contacted Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe in June 2014 with an enquiry concerning a 10-inch pipeline in steel grade X42N.
"Right from the outset, the emphasis was on having the 2,340 tons of pipe in three wall thicknesses from 7.1 to 11.1 mm, delivered on time. It was absolutely essential for the project be started before expiry of the term for subsidies from the EU and from Madrid and Palma de Mallorca," says Paulo Santos, who was responsible for the project at Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe.
To start with, the bare black pipes had to be shipped to the Spanish coating plant Sert in Alegría in Northern Spain, where a flowcoat lining and an HDPE coating were to be applied. However, their transportation from Germany to Alegría was by no means easy and drove the logistics department in Siegen to the brink of despair.
At the Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe representative Ecopipe in Barcelona, Alberto Simon and Rafael Vidal were responsible for the project. Alberto Simon: "Weekend and holiday traffic and parking bans in France created chaotic conditions for some of the deliveries to the Sert plant." Rafael Vidal adds: "But despite this, we kept all the deadlines and completed the project successfully for the customer."
Since March 2015, another twelve Mallorcan communities with some 135,000 inhabitants altogether have been linked up to the gas network thanks to the start-up of the pipeline. In addition, new areas have been opened up for industry. According to Redexis Gas, 250 new jobs have been created directly or indirectly.
Besides significant cost savings for the consumers, the expansion will also afford an enormous reduction in CO2 emissions.
Immediate follow-up order
In April 2015, a new project was tackled with the aim of connecting the communities between Son Malferit and Felanitx in the southeast of Mallorca to the network in the spring of 2016. In this case, Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe supplied 60 km of 16- and 12-inch pipes in steel grades X60M and X42N and with wall thicknesses of between 7.1 and 12.7 mm. In all, 4,180 tons had to be kept ready and delivered in two instalments, the first of which arrived at the Sert location in Alegría by early September and the second in December 2015.
Target in sight
With the two pipelines commissioned, the expansion of natural gas supplies in Mallorca is progressing further. By 2018, 630,000 households on the Balearic Islands are to be linked up to the natural gas network. Besides significant cost savings for the consumers, the expansion will also afford an enormous reduction in CO2 emissions.
Since the power grid is operated independently of the mainland grid, the linked-up power plants ensure a more stable power supply in Mallorca, which is essential if new industrial enterprises are to set up new sites and create new jobs on the island.