TurkStream’s first line reaches Turkish shore
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The deep-water offshore construction of the first line of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline is now complete as the world’s largest pipelaying vessel, the Pioneering Spirit, reached the Turkish shore off Kıyıköy in northwest Turkey on April 29.
Pioneering Spirit captain Loek Fernengel told journalists on the vessel that Allseas, the company that owns the Pioneering Spirit, has the most technologically advanced pipelaying vessel in the world in the Pioneering Spirit, which is not only designed for pipelaying but also for the installation and decommissioning of oil and gas platforms.
The vessel has a maximum speed of 14 knots and can accommodate 571 people with an installed power capacity of 95,000 kilowatts.
“This is a unique vessel with the size of six Boeing 747s, and is able to lift 2.5 Eiffel Towers at once,” Fernengel said.
“The vessel’s construction started in 2012, so we can say that it’s a newly-built vessel,” he added.
The TurkStream construction project has so far been very successful, said the captain.
“Even in the event of massive waves, the vessel remains stable and we continue to work. There was a huge storm about a month ago. The waves reached 7-8 meters high and the vessel suffered some damage but it did not stop our production. Every eight minutes, we lay one pipe in the sea,” Fernengel said.
“We found aircraft wrecks and archeological sites on the seabed during pipelaying. We changed our route each time but there has been no delay nevertheless,” he explained.
As an example of the speed of work, Fernengel explained that the speed record achieved in February this year was 5.7 kilometers of pipe-laying daily.
The captain confirmed that when the pipelaying for the first line of the TurkStream is finished, the crew will take a 10-day break and return to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
He added that in the third quarter of 2018, the Pioneering Spirit will return to the Black Sea to complete the second line for the TurkStream project.
First gas in 2019
TurkStream’s spokesman Sander van Rootselaar also informed the visiting group of journalists that to date, 224 km of the second line has been completed.
“For the offshore part, we have all the necessary permits. The onshore lines are beyond our remit. Those will be the responsibility of Turkey’s BOTAŞ and Gazprom. They are in talks for a joint venture regarding the second onshore pipeline,” he said, adding that the first gas from the project will be pumped in December 2019.
“The project is a clear benefit for Turkey as it’s a direct line to the country. The negotiations for gas price are ongoing. We have to wait to see how they develop,” he said.
TurkStream is a planned natural gas pipeline to carry Russian gas to Turkey. It would run from the Russkaya compressor station near Anapa in the Krasnodar Region across the Black Sea to Kıyıköy on the Turkish Thrace coast.
Gazprom, which plans to complete the pipeline in 2019, said in a statement that 1,161 km of pipe had been laid since it began construction last year. The second line, designed to ship gas to south European countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Italy, will be laid in the third quarter of 2018, the company said.