South Stream Transport B.V. CEO Oleg Aksyutin and Saipem Senior Vice President Stefano Bianchi, have entered into contracts for constructing the first of the four offshore lines of the South Stream gas pipeline.
According to the signed contracts worth around EUR 2 billion, Saipem will generate the project documentation, build the first offshore line of the South Stream gas pipeline as well as erect process facilities in the shore crossing areas and construct the landfalls.
Plans call for the pipe to be welded onboard a pipe-laying vessel and then installed on the seabed in water depths of up to 2,200 meters. The South Stream gas pipeline will be laid by two Saipem pipe-laying vessels: Castoro Sei, an S-lay vessel suitable for both shallow and deep waters and Saipem 7000, a J-lay vessel that built the Blue Stream gas pipeline in the Black Sea in the early 2000s.
For the shore crossings, four micro-tunnels will be built on the Russian and the Bulgarian sides to preserve area coastlines. Preparations for micro-tunneling operations will start in June.
Offshore construction will start in autumn. The construction of the first offshore line will last until the third quarter of 2015. By the end of 2015 the first line will be commissioned. The offshore section of South Stream will consist of four parallel lines, each longer than 930 km, across the Black Sea from the Russian coast to the Varma Port of Bulgaria. Each line will be comprised of over 72,000 12-meter pipes.