Gazprom says Turkish Stream pipeline project 80 percent complete

AA Photo

The Turkish Stream pipeline, due to supply Russian gas to Turkey via the Black Sea from next year, is already 80 percent complete, the CEO of the Russian gas giant Gazprom said Thursday.

"The realization of large-scale Gazprom export projects to Europe are continuing," CEO Alexei Miller said in comments carried by Russian news agencies.

"There is the Turkish Stream gas pipeline: 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) of pipe, around 80 percent of the line" has been assembled, he said during a meeting.

Miller's comments came during a conference call dedicated to workers in the oil and gas industry, according to a statement from Gazprom subsidiary and project developer South Stream Transport B.V. based in Amsterdam.

TurkStream is a transit-free export gas pipeline, which will not only stretch across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey but will further extend to Turkey's borders with neighboring countries.

The first line is intended for gas supplies to Turkish consumers, while the second is to supply gas to south and southeastern Europe.

The pipeline, which will proceed into Europe either through Bulgaria and Serbia or through Greece and Italy, will become operational at the end of 2019.

The world's largest construction and heavy-lift vessel, Pioneering Spirit, which is currently laying the second line of the project, set a new world record in offshore pipelaying on Sunday.

Gazprom said on its official Instagram account on Monday that the vessel, which belongs to the Allseas company, laid 6.27 kilometers of pipes per day on Aug. 26, surpassing the average 4 kilometers per day.

In October, Moscow and Ankara signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of two underwater legs of the TurkStream gas pipeline in the Black Sea.

The first line of the pipeline reached the Turkish shore at the end of April after 930 kilometers of deep-water offshore pipelaying from Anapa, Russia, to Kıyıköy, Turkey, by the world's largest pipe-laying vessel, Pioneering Spirit.

TurkStream's first line will carry 15.75 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas to Turkey. The project will have a total throughput capacity of 31.5 bcm thanks to the second line that will go to Europe.

Over the first eight months of the year, Gazprom exported over 133 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey and the EU — up 5.6 percent from the same period last year, Miller said.

The Russian giant continues to announce record export volumes to the region, where it generates a sizable portion of its profits.

On Wednesday, Gazprom announced an increase of 65 percent to its net profits in the first half of 2018, to 630.8 billion rubles ($9.2 billion, 7.9 billion euros).

Gazprom operating profits increased 55 percent to 878.2 billion rubles, while its turnover was up 24 percent to 3.97 billion rubles.

Putin announced the plan to build TurkStream in Ankara in December 2014, as a replacement for the South Stream pipeline that was to have been built in cooperation with EU countries.

South Stream was scrapped after years of planning, with Putin angrily blaming Brussels for its failure.

Gazprom is also planning to open the Nord Stream 2 pipeline by the end of next year, bypassing Ukraine by the Baltic Sea.

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