Vlentec Vacuum pipe lifters handle pipe for the South Caucasus Pipeline (TANAP feeder pipeline)

Azerbaijan pipeline to transport gas to Turkey and Europe (via TANAP pipeline)

The Saipem (Italy) and Azfen (Azerbaijan) JV are currently manufacturing the South Caucasus Pipeline. The expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline is part of the Shah Deniz Full Field Development project. This expansion will involve the laying of new pipeline across Azerbaijan and the construction of two new compressor stations in Georgia. This will triple the gas volumes exported through the pipeline to over 20 billion cubic metres per year.

At the border between Georgia and Turkey, the pipeline will link into the TANAP pipeline to provide gas into Turkey and the European Union.

Vlentec has supplied equipment and local technical training to Saipem and Azfen staff in Baku. Safe Work Method documentation was adapted it comply with BP (the main pipeline operator) and Azerbaijan regulations.

From October 2014 the vacuum pipe lifters have been unloading pipes from wagons to stock yards along the pipeline route. Pipe stringing is planned to commence in January 2015. The amount of vacuum pipe lifters on this project will peak later in 2015 at approx.  18 units (TANAP units not included).

All units are 12,5t SC125N-D vacuum lifters fitted with the heavy duty rotator (15t) and suction pads to lift 44 to 48 inch diameter pipes. The SC125N-D is Vlentec’s diesel powered, light weight vacuum lifter. The lightweight beam on the end of the arm allows the use of a smaller excavator, lowering investment and maintenance costs for the contractors.

Pipe handling time is expected to be reduced by more than 10x compared to traditional methods together with a 60% reduction of pipe handling staff.