Turkey approves environmental report for South Stream pipeline

Turkey approves environmental report for South Stream pipeline

Turkey approves environmental report for South Stream pipeline

This picture taken on October 31, 2013, shows workers welding pipes during the symbolic start of the construction of the Bulgarian section of Russian gas giant Gazprom's South Stream pipeline near the village of Rasovo. AFP Photo

Turkey has given the green light to the Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report for the section of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline that will cross the country.

The Turkish Environment and Urbanization Ministry has approved the ÇED report that oversees the potential impact of the project on nature, a statement released by South Stream has said.

The report concluded that the project, which will carry natural gas from Russia to Europe, is not expected to have any significant impact on the marine environment or fisheries in its Turkish section.

According to information provided by the company, the pipeline will be constructed at a distance of over 110 kilometers from the Turkish coast, in waters up to 2,200 meters deep.

Due to the anoxic nature of the Black Sea environment, with virtually no oxygen below 100-200 meters, hardly any life is found at these depths, so few environmental effects are expected during the pipeline construction. In addition, fishing activities are not expected to be impacted by the pipeline as they generally take place closer to the coast.

The ÇED Report identified a number of measures that have been incorporated into the project designed to avoid or minimize impacts. For example, the pipeline has been rerouted in certain locations so that shipwrecks on the seabed are avoided by at least 150 meters, and are therefore not affected during the construction.

Offshore pipe laying will start in Russian waters in late 2014 and the first vessel will enter the Turkish exclusive economic zone in the first quarter of 2015. The first pipeline will be operational by the end of 2015.