Complete logistic
solution for expansion
gas storage

Recently Wagenborg was awarded multiple contracts for the logistics of several gas pipe tracings, such as the gasunie tracings, OPAL, NEL and UGS Bergermeer. After transporting tens of thousands of gas pipes, Wagenborg again was awarded another logistic project. This time Wagenborg was asked to offer a full package of logistic services to the main pipeline supplier for the NorgroN UGS Project.

Project 'Norg +'

For over 15 years Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) stores natural gas in an undergound gas storage (UGS) in the cities of Norg and Grijpskerk in the north of The Netherlands. These supplies are necessary in case of harsh winter conditions when the Dutch consumer turns on their heatings. This increasing demand for gas can not be covered by the regular gas extraction from the small gas fields and large ‘Groningen gas field’. Because the USG  Norg has to step in more often, NAM decided to expand their USG. This project, called Norg+, is up and running since the end of 2011.

NorgroN pipe line tracing

Over time the USG Norg will be more in action then before. A direct connection between the large ‘Groningen gas field’ and the USG Norg is necessary. The current pipe line, which connects this resevoir with the ‘Groningen gas field’ has too little capacity in the long run to handle peak demands. That is  why NAM decided to install a new direct direction, called the ‘NorgroN pipe line’.


The NorgroN gas pipe tracing, measuring 120 cm in diameter, about 30 km in length, will lay on an average depth of 1.5 m. The entire project is expected to be finished during 2014 after which the new tracing can be put in action during the winter of 2014/2015.

Transhipment and storage

For the installation of the NorgroN pipe line tracing 1,781 pipelines, measuring 18 m in length, 1.22 m in diameter and weights varying from 7,500 to 9,750 kg, were transported by two vessels from China to the Wagenborg Terminal in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. Discharging the vessels was done with port cranes, which loaded the gas pipes directly on a heavy duty trailer. These vehicles took the cargo to its temporary lay down area, prepared with a  dedicated system for the storage of vulnerable isolated pipeline pieces: System 88. Specially designed vacuum crawler cranes loading and unloading the pas pipes on and off the heavy duty trailers.

Working with safety in mind

From the Wagenborg Terminal all pipes were transported along the pipe line route. On a daily basis three to four trailers transported pipes. Alongside the tracing a vacuum crawler crane discharged these trailers and positioned the gas pipes on their position. By the end of April 2013, all pipeline pieces were delivered by Wagenborg. The trucks drove along prepared and safe routes, avoiding villages and bike routes to ensure safety for all parties involved. As always, Wagenborg works in accordance with the highest safety standards and newest guidelines for load securing. The entire project was all about  working with safety in mind, Wagenborg’s trademark.

“From 2007 until today Wagenborg transported about 1250 km of gas pipes in approximately 52,500 cargoes.”
“The construction of UGN Norg depends entirely on logistics - Hans Frieling, Lead construction manager GLTPlus”

“The most efficient way of on site construction is to have only the right materials, at the right time and in exact the amount needed. Actually, construction depends entirely on logistics”. These words are stated by hans frieling, who is the Lead construction manager for GLTPlus on the Norg expansion project from NAM. GLTPlus is a consortium of five companies (Stork, Jacobs, SITNL, Yokogawa and Siemens) whereby Hans represents Stork. In this article, he tells about the Norg Expansion project, how GLTPlus is organized and the way Royal Wagenborg fits in.

Efficient logistics and construction

For over 15 years NAM, a Shell/Exxon Joint Venture, stores natural gas in an underground gas storage (UGS). This gas is stored during the summer periodwhen the demand is low and produced during the winter when the demand is high. To maintain its function properly with the decreasing volume of the Groningen field, the capacity of the UGS Norg has to be expanded. This so-called Norg Expansion Project is up and running since the end of 2011 and has to be finished before the end of March 2015.


Besides the fact that the capacity of the plant has to be doubled (!) at the end of March 2015, also the entire control and software of the UGS will be replaced within the same period. This challenging project can only be successful if we make logistics and construction as efficient as possible”, explains Hans Frieling.


Stork, as consortium partner of GLTPlus, uses many pre-fabricated parts for the expansion of the plant, which are made off-site in the Stork pre-fab-shop in Antwerp, Belgium. Hans Frieling: “One of the challenges that needed to be overcome in this supply chain was the difference in (efficiency) equirements between the pre-fab shop and the construction site in Norg. The pre-fab-shop builds in batches grouped according to pipe diameter, while the construction site in Norg needs the material according to the construction planning. The solution for this challenge is the use of an off-site central warehouse from where piping and other materials are kitted together into ready-to-use packages to be send to Norg when required.”

The advantage of a central warehouse

To support the Norg Expansion Project Wagenborg established a dedicated warehouse at the Wagenborg Reining location in Kolham for the storage of all materials in a 1,500 m2 indoor warehouse and 5,000 m2 outdoor storage area. All parts are transported via a paintshop from the prefab-shop in Antwerp to this warehouse, where they are stored and administrated under supervision of Wagenborg. Other parts and equipment required for this expansion project are transported from the manufacturer directly to the warehouse of Wagenborg. The cargo varies from screws and bolts to 60 tons transformers, 70 tons compressors and spool pipes measuring 26m. Hans Frieling: “We want to keep the stock on site to a minimum and have an artificial call-off lead-time 10 working days between the warehouse and the construction site. The most important advantage of this is that we force the construction crew to plan their work at least a fortnight ahead and keep the construction site tidy. If the storage of materials would be on site, the construction crew are naturally focused on using that material, which will introduce the risk of improper use of materials or damage to materials. When the construction supervisors need certain materials they call off materials in small quantities from the central warehouse after which Wagenborg takes care of just-in-time delivery of the required parts. By using the warehouse we are able to construct as efficient as possible.”


With this way of working NAM, GLTPlus and Stork are using Wagenborg’s logistic knowledge and experience optimally.

Minimizing the impact on the environment

Using the Wagenborg central warehouse creates also the advantage that dedicated drivers from Wagenborg are nominated to transport the materials from the warehouse to the site. Since the UGS is located in an environmental sensitive area, it is important to minimize the impact on the quiet surroundings. By using dedicated drivers we ensure that the drivers are familiar with hazardous spots along the transport route to the construction site and back and act accordingly. Together with the municipality and residents special transport routes are mapped which the Wagenborg truck drivers have to follow to reduce the interference with the neighborhood as much as possible.

On-site activities

Besides the off-site activities the UGS in Norg is currently ‘painted red’ with multiple mobile cranes and tower cranes to assist the construction works by lifting parts to their positions. On a daily basis between eight and ten cranes are used for this project. “The number of on-site activities will increase substantially over time”, explains Hans Frieling. “Around July 2014 a really busy period will start. The pre-fab shop has finished the production of all required materials, the UGS will be shut down completely and everybody has to do their utmost to finish the shutdown before December 2014 when the USG has to be ready for the upcoming winter. I expect around 1,000 workers including management to be working here in that period”.


Wagenborg Nedlift will play a crucial role in this period since many activities need regular truck supplies and support of cranes. The first major lifts are planned to be executed in March when four cooler banks, a third compressor and a motor have to be installed; all components of around 70 tons. For these lifts Wagenborg Nedlift will put their LR1400 and LR1750 crawler cranes into action. “After these heavy units are in positions, we can start to construct the systems related to these heavy units for which we need piping, cabling and other equipment and materials. For area-focused construction - and later on system-focused construction and commissioning - the use of the Wagenborg central warehouse and its transport facilities are really the solution for us. The company’s combination of transport, cranes and warehousing is a distinctive logistics concept, which fits perfectly our way of working”, concludes Hans Frieling.

“Wagenborg’s combination of transport, cranes and warehousing is a distinctive logistics concept, which fits perfectly our way of working.”