The final weld that connects the offshore and nearshore sections of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project has been completed, marking the finalization of the entire pipeline system in the Black Sea, South Stream Transport B.V., which has been carrying out project activities for the offshore gas pipeline, said in a statement Tuesday.
The TurkStream project is an export gas pipeline consisting of two 930-kilometer lines, each with the capacity to carry 15.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which is planned to be fully operational by the end of 2019. The pipelines cross beneath the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further extend to the latter's borders with neighboring European countries.
South Stream Transport B.V. said the procedure, known technically as an "above water tie-in," involved retrieving the nearshore pipeline and offshore pipeline from the seabed, lifting them above water and welding them together.
It noted that the total weight that had to be lifted for the operation was approximately 409 tons. After a thorough inspection of the weld, the pipe was carefully lowered to the seabed at a depth of 32 meters. This operation was carried out on both lines in Russian waters in January and February this year and near the Turkish coast in March. The world's largest construction vessel, the Allseas-owned Pioneering Spirit, completed the construction of the two offshore pipelines for the project, while the shallow-water pipe laying was conducted by Lorelay.
With the completion of the above water tie-in procedure, the statement said, a physical connection between the landfall facility near the Russian city of Anapa and the receiving terminal near Kıyıköy in Turkish Thrace has been realized.
The Russkaya Compressor Station, which will provide the necessary pressure for the gas to traverse through the Black Sea and the Anapa landfall facility of the TurkStream pipeline system are already complete and on standby, it added.
With the completion of the receiving terminal in Kıyıköy later this year, TurkStream will be ready to commence operations. Natural gas flow through TurkStream is planned to start by the end of 2019.
TurkStream's first line is intended for gas supplies to the Turkish market, while the second will supply gas to south and southeastern Europe. The second line is expected to route from Turkey through Bulgaria, then to Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia.