Nearshore excavation for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project started on Sunday near the Turkish town of Kıyıköy.
According to an official announcement by the managing South Stream Transport B.V Company, Turkey's nearshore component involves constructing seabed trenches of around 2.4 kilometers in length from the shoreline to the sea.
Precautions are being taken to protect the pipes against sea waves and to avoid interference with fishing in the area. The offshore trenching process is expected to last four to eight weeks.
The company noted that independent third party experts prepared an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to determine the best route for the pipeline, taking into account potential environmental impacts and other risks.
"These studies demonstrate that the nearshore work will have small, temporary and localized effects for the local fishing industry. After a thorough consultation process with various Turkish stakeholders, including local community representatives and fishing groups, the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization approved the EIA in September 2017," the company said.
"We are pleased to be on schedule to ensure that gas deliveries start by the end of 2019. We will try and make sure to minimize and mitigate the disturbance to the local residents during the nearshore works," Sander van Rootselaar, the TurkStream spokesperson added in a written statement.
"The compensation scheme is part of TurkStream's corporate responsibility and good neighborhood policy, in combination with a series of other measures intended to support the well-being of the local economy and people of Kıyıköy," the company explained.
In addition, the company said that in parallel, the Pioneering Spirit, the largest construction vessel in the world that is doing the pipe laying for the project, is progressing at a fast pace since the offshore construction of the second line resumed on June 26.
Furthermore, the landfall facilities on the Russian side of the Black Sea near the city of Anapa is in the final stages of construction and will be completed in 2018, the company said.
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.
Pioneering Sprit also completed the construction of 224 kilometers of the second line of the project and has reached the border of Turkish-Russian exclusive economic zone.
The second line of the TurkStream is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Pioneering Spirit completed the pipe-laying of the first line in late April. The average rate of the deepwater pipe-laying process was 4.3 kilometers per day.
The first line of the gas pipeline is intended for the Turkish consumers, while the second line is designated for the Southern and South-Eastern 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 that started on May 7, 2017.
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