When it comes to building one of the world’s largest gas pipelines, you need the support of one of the world’s biggest steelmakers – ArcelorMittal! For Turkish pipe producer Tosçelik, the support of ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products has helped the company to create over 500 kilometres of heavy duty pipe on time and within budget. Although it is now drawing to close, this incredibly complex project has taken many years of planning and production to reach fruition.
One of the first challenges the partners faced was getting the chemical composition of the steel and processing steps right. ArcelorMittal Europe initially created two competitive metallurgical concepts, both of which met the very high demands of the TANAP project. “ArcelorMittal’s technical assistance on how we should apply the difficult technical specifications established by TANAP was perfect,” notes Bulent Saygili, raw material procurement president for Tosçelik.
TANAP runs across Turkey to the Greek border where it connects to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)
The larger challenge was the processing steps as Frank Lohmann, support manager for external quality at ArcelorMittal Bremen explains: “We had to fine-tune the internal processes at the mill to ensure quality consistency over a very large tonnage, and the two-year production timeframe. Every mill is different so it took some time to get the thermomechanical properties right, but Bremen excels in this area.”
Trial coils using the different alloys and processing steps were sent to Tosçelik for testing. “We did several tests, fine-tuning the process parameters as we went,” says Frank Lohmann. “Once Tosçelik were happy with the specifications and quality we were able to start full production.”
Another major issue which arose early in the project was the weight of the coils to be delivered from ArcelorMittal Bremen to the Tosçelik production plant in Turkey. While Bremen is experienced with heavy coil weights, Tosçelik requested maximum coil weights of 30 tonnes.
Thanks to close relationship which developed between the ArcelorMittal and Tosçelik teams, ArcelorMittal was able to show how the heavier coils could increase productivity. “By using coils of up to 40 tonnes, Tosçelik could make five pipes from the lower gauge steel, and four from the heavier gauge,” notes Arnaud Delame Lelievre, commercial director energy at ArcelorMittal. “With lighter coils, this would have been reduced by one pipe per coil. But with the bigger coils there is less scrap, and there are fewer coil changes required. These are big advantages for the customer.”
Following a meeting in Osmaniye (Turkey) in January 2015 between Tosçelik, ArcelorMittal Bremen, and the ArcelorMittal Customer Technical Support (CTS) team, the decision was taken to start serial production in February 2015. “TANAP had priority over everything else at ArcelorMittal Bremen,” explains Frank Lohmann. “The response from ArcelorMittal’s commercial, technical, and logistic teams was outstanding.”
ArcelorMittal’s proximity to Tosçelik enabled the commercial, technical, and logistic teams to regularly visit the pipe-maker. “The commercial team in Istanbul were a particularly important link between the customer and the mill,” says Guido D'heygere, ArcelorMittal’s senior manager of client technical support for energy pipes. “But ArcelorMittal people from the mill, coordination, and technical support were also on the ground in Turkey to make sure things ran smoothly. One of the Tosçelik staff said to me: ‘Even when things are going well, ArcelorMittal comes to check – that doesn’t happen with other suppliers’.”
The commercial team provided Tosçelik with regular reports on the quality of the steel being produced notes Merih Acar, account manager in ArcelorMittal’s Istanbul office: “We provided the customer with detail reports about the steel covering items such as chemistry, mechanical properties, and surface and internal cleanliness. Tosçelik also received a weekly status report detailing material flows and order follow-up.”
“ArcelorMittal’s key account management team followed this project very closely and took immediate action to meet all of our requirements,” Can Bahadan, deputy general manager of Tosçelik Spiral explains. “ArcelorMittal’s delivery schedule was client-oriented, enabling us to revise it more than 40 times over the project as our demands changed.”
As production of the steel progressed in Bremen, Tosçelik began to manufacture the pipes in Turkey. “ArcelorMittal’s technical team regularly visited our mill and worked with our quality department as a single body,” notes Can Bahadan. “Their support was very client-oriented, very flexible, and we received excellent technical and commercial support.” Can Bahadan was also pleased with the quality of ArcelorMittal’s steel and the company’s response to issues: “We rejected a small number of coils in the first batch, but ArcelorMittal agreed to compensate us.
ArcelorMittal’s support included providing the Tosçelik team with advice about technical issues as Herve Joseph Luccioni, technical support coordinator for energy pipes explains: “We had a call from Tosçelik on a Friday afternoon about an urgent issue. We started to look for a solution immediately using our own ArcelorMittal experts and R&D staff from the OCAS steel research centre in Gent (Belgium). By Tuesday morning we were able to advise Tosçelik of the solution.”
During their visits to the Tosçelik plant, the ArcelorMittal personnel noted that safety standards aren’t as well developed in Turkey as they are in Europe. “The close cooperation between the two companies enabled ArcelorMittal to pass on advice about safety and the handling of our material,” notes Guido D'heygere. “That advice was very well received by the Tosçelik team and implemented quickly. They were very keen to learn.”
Almost seven years after this project first started, all of the steel for the TANAP project has been delivered from ArcelorMittal Bremen to Tosçelik. With the final pipes due for completion before the end of 2017, this highly complex two-year project is drawing to a close. But the relationship between ArcelorMittal and Tosçelik is certain to go on as Can Bahadan notes: “We have 100 percent satisfaction with ArcelorMittal’s cooperation during the TANAP project and we hope to collaborate again on future large projects.”
The combination of thickness, grade, and acceptance test requirements made this a challenging project
TANAP is the integral link in a project which will see gas transported from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Brindisi on Italy’s south-eastern coast. Three separate pipelines have been constructed to transport the gas: the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) which crosses Azerbaijan and Georgia; the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) across Turkey; and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which crosses Greece, ending in Italy. In total, the gas will cover more than 3,400 kilometres. At over 1,800 km in length, TANAP accounts for more than half.
Construction of TANAP began in 2015 and is expected to be completed by 2018/2019. Following extensive testing the pipe is scheduled to be fully operational by 2019.
For more info visit: www.tanap.com
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