TurkStream Deepwater Pipe-Lay Commences

Pioneering Spirit
Pioneering Spirit

By The Maritime Executive 2017-06-26 21:07:10

Gazprom has started laying the TurkStream gas pipeline in the deep-water area off the coast of Anapa, Russia. Operations on board the Pioneering Spirit were launched at the command of Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the pipe-lay vessel.

TurkStream is an export gas pipeline stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey. The pipeline will come ashore on the Turkish coast some 100 kilometers west of Istanbul, near the village of Kiyikoy. From Kiyikoy, an underground pipeline will be developed connecting TurkStream to the existing network at Luleburgaz. The route will continue from there to its end point at the Greek border. 

The first string of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second string will deliver gas to southern and southeastern Europe. Each string will have the throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year. 

On October 10, 2016, Russia and Turkey signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on the TurkStream project. South Stream Transport B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom, is responsible for the construction of the gas pipeline's offshore section. On May 7, 2017, the Audacia vessel started the construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline near the Russian coast.

TurkStream will be the first 32-inch system to be laid at depths of over two kilometers. Each of the two offshore pipelines is made up of thousands of individual pipe joints of 12 meters (40 feet) in length. 

The pipes are produced in special mills and shipped to construction yards on the coats. The walls of the pipeline are made from 39 millimeters of high-quality carbon manganese steel and each joint to improve the mechanical characteristics of the pipe so that it can withstand the huge pressure. Pipes laid closer to the shore are coated in concrete for added stability and protection against marine activities.

Russian Gas Exports to Europe

For Turkey, natural gas is the key energy source accounting for 38 percent in the country’s electricity generation and used for heating and cooking in upward of 12 million households. 

“Natural gas is of equal importance to southern and southeastern Europe. The declining indigenous gas production and the necessity to reduce coal's share in electricity generation across the Balkan countries create the potential for sustainable growth in natural gas demand in that part of Europe,” said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.

In 2016, Gazprom’s exports to Europe hit a record of 179.3 billion cubic meters, 12.5 percent more than in 2015. The largest buyers were Germany, Turkey and Italy. Germany, Gazprom’s number one market in Europe, imported 49.8 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, a historical high for the country.

In 2017, gas supplies have grown further: over the first five months of the year, the company exported 9.5 billion cubic meters, 13.3 percent more than in the same period of 2016.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is under construction and has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas. On April 24, 2017, Nord Stream 2 signed the financing agreements for the project with Engie, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper and Wintershall. The companies will provide long-term financing for 50 percent of the total cost of the project.