The world's largest offshore construction vessel, Pioneering Spirit, owned by Swiss company Allseas, was reported to resume the construction of the second line of the TurkStream project yesterday.
According to a statement released by TurkStream, after entering the Black Sea on June 20, Pioneering Spirit completed a set of preparatory works, including lowering of the stinger and re-testing of pipe-laying equipment.
"The pipeline head of the second string was recovered from the bottom of the Black Sea on the border of Russian and the Turkish Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) at a depth of 2,170 meters (1.35 miles). This pipeline section, up to the EEZ border at kilometer point 224, was installed in 2017," the statement read.
"Calculated over the two lines, a total of 1,161 kilometer of pipes has been laid so far. This corresponds to 62 percent of the combined offshore gas pipeline length," it said.
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak had previously said that they would complete the second line of the TurkStream project with Russia by the end of 2019.
The first line of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second line is designated for South and Southeastern Europe. Each line will have a throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year. South Stream Transport B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom PJSC, is responsible for the construction of the gas pipeline's offshore section. Gas transfer is planned from the Ipsala border to European Union countries, although the definitive route of the second line has not yet been determined. Negotiations are ongoing with countries interested in the project.
According to Gazprom officials, Gazprom's exports to Europe have been on the rise since 2012, and the continent has been the biggest customer of the company over the last 25 years. The company exported 190 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe in 2017. TurkStream was first proposed by the Russian president in 2014 during his visit to Turkey. But after the jet-downing crisis in November 2015 the project was suspended until relations began to normalize. On Oct. 10, Turkey and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement on construction of the planned TurkStream gas pipeline to compress Russian gas under Turkish waters in the Black Sea towards Europe. The agreement was signed by Albayrak and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, in the presence of Russian President Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after talks in Istanbul as part of the 23rd World Energy Congress.
Istanbul / DAILY SABAH