Nord Stream 2 and its high-tech suppliers

As Nord Stream 2 is dominating the world news, we decided to make short stories about the project participants from the Ural Region. One of them is the ChelPipe Group, a major Russian producer of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry with 25,000 employees.

In the last two decades, the Group has invested heavily, both in the modernisation of its existing production capacities and in new plants to meet the demand evolving from new pipelines, not only Nord Stream but also Turkish Stream, Power of Siberia and others.

Vysota 239 is probably the most prominent example of ChelPipe’s greenfield projects. The brand-new pipe mill worth $880mn was opened in 2010 in Chelyabinsk, drawing attention from far beyond the Region.

On the list of the 25 most beautiful factories in the world, Vysota 239 has been ranked number 9, behind Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory and BMW’s Central Building in Leipzig. The list below was compiled by CMMS Software Insight based on criteria such as completely distinctive design feature, award-winning/cited for aesthetics, clearly going above and beyond the pure utility required of a factory: 

  1. Van Nelle Factory, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  2. Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory, Germany
  3. Aerzen Green Building, Coatesville, PA, USA
  4. GreenHouse Facility, Holland, MI, USA
  5. Olisur Olive Oil Factory, Santiago, Chile
  6. BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany
  7. McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, UK
  8. FRABA sp z.o.o., Slubice, Poland
  9. Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Factory, Russia
  10. Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, CA.                                                                                                                  25.   Intel’s Fab32, Semiconductor Manufacturing Plant, Chandler, AZ, USA


ChelPipe stated that the investment in extraordinary design was a part of the company’s “White Metallurgy” philosophy, which is built on the highest product quality, cleanliness and innovative technology. The belief is that beautiful and comfortable surroundings improve employee loyalty and increase labour productivity. 

However, it’s not only about the design. Vysota239 is equipped with state-of-the-art machines from the German SMS Group, linked to form an extremely modern process chain. 

The two JCO presses are at the heart of the plant and produce 18.3-metre and 12.2-metre pipes. ChelPipe is, therefore, well-equipped to meet all current and future market demands. The advantage of the 18.3-metre pipes is the lower laying costs, as the number of connecting welds is lower compared with shorter pipes. Thanks to the use of the 12.2-metre press, the shorter pipes can be produced with extremely thick walls, even with small diameters, and are therefore well-suited for use in offshore pipelines where they have to withstand higher pressures. The quality of the pipes meets all international standards. 

An MES system (Manufacturing Execution System) forms the link between the superordinate ChelPipe ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system and the machine control level. Each pipe is given a barcode by which all production data can be individually allocated to the pipe. The quality of the pipe is inspected and documented after every step in the process. This Level 3 automation system guarantees consistently high quality, and not only in theory.

In June 2018, Vysota 239 completed deliveries for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on time and in compliance with strict quality requirements – a great success on an international project. In total, 600,000 tonnes of innovative pipes have been produced and shipped to an interim storage site in Kotka (Finland) over the last two years.

The Nord Stream 2 twin pipeline will be one of the world’s longest offshore gas pipelines with 1,230 km in length comprising of 200,000 individual pipe sections, each 12 meters long. The pipes have a constant internal diameter of 1,153mm and a wall thickness of up to 41mm. The insides of the pipes will receive a high-gloss coating to reduce friction as the gas flows through the system. An external coating is applied to prevent corrosion, followed by a concrete weight coating to provide added protection and weigh the pipeline down so that it remains stable on the seabed. 

ChelPipe was selected as a supplier for this major international infrastructure project alongside two other pipe producers: OMK (Russia) and EuroPipe (Germany).

The Chief Project Officer of Nord Stream 2 AG, Henning Kothe, commented: “We are highly satisfied with the performance of ChelPipe. The company fulfilled all its contractual obligations on time and in accordance with the highest quality standards”.

The General Director of the ChelPipe Group, Boris Kovalenkov, says this accomplishment confirms the status of the Group as one of the leading pipe manufacturers in the world.