TurkStream enters Turkish economic exclusive zone
The first pipeline of the TurkStream Offshore Gas Pipeline entered Turkey’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on Nov. 4, the project management announced in a statement.
Pioneering Spirit, the world’s largest pipelaying and construction vessel, marked the occasion by laying on the seabed the section of the pipeline with Russian and Turkish flags, symbolizing the crossing of the EEZ border between the two countries, read the statement.
The border crossing also marked the completion of construction of the two offshore lines within the Russian EEZ, it added.
Regarding the launch ceremony, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller said the pipeline would slash transit risks for Turkey as the first taker of the gas.
“The West Line carries gas through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria before entering Turkey. The Blue Stream mainly supplies gas to Turkey’s eastern and central Anatolian areas. But Turkstream will directly pump gas to Turkey’s most populated and industrialized northwestern parts. In this vein, with Turkstream we will evade any transit risks by making Turkey the first recipient of gas rather than a final recipient through long and indirect routes,” Milller told daily Hürriyet on Nov. 4.
In total, some 448 kilometers of the pipeline were laid down, equally divided over the two lines, according to the statement, which added that construction of nearly 25 percent of the offshore pipeline section has been completed in less than six months.
The first gas is expected to flow through TurkStream in December 2019.
Order of construction
After reaching the border of the EEZ with one line, Pioneering Spirit returned towards Anapa to commence deepwater pipelaying with the other line, according to the statement.
Allseas’ vessel Audacia had already finalized the shallow water section for both lines late July. Due to the chosen order of pipelaying it was possible to finalize the main offshore construction activities in the Russian EEZ in one campaign.
“Pioneering Spirit will now continue the pipelaying activities with one pipeline all the way close to the Turkish landfall,” the statement reads.
The two TurkStream pipelines will come ashore in Turkey near the town of Kıyıköy, which is located approximately 100 kilometers west of Istanbul.
The average speed of pipelaying by Pioneering Spirit is in excess of 4 kilometers per day, with a record set by the Allseas crew on Nov. 1, 2017, by constructing 5.15 kilometers of Turkstream pipeline in one day. The water depth at the EEZ boundary is approximately 2,171 meters, which is close to the deepest part of the TurkStream route (2,198 meters).
On June 23, the pipelaying operations in the deepwater sections of the Black Sea started by Pioneering Spirit, with Russian President Vladimir Putin on board to give an official start of the works.
On Sept. 5, a contract for constructing the gas receiving terminal in Turkey was awarded to Petrofac.
On Oct. 2, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the offshore section of TurkStream was approved by the Turkish government.