May 2019, Vol. 246, No. 5

Editor's Notebook

Spring Conference Season in Full Gear

Joe Hollier, Editor

While attending the Pipeline Technical Conference in Berlin, Germany, last month, I came across multiple new innovations designed to improve or protect the pipeline industry, and a few projects that are making a big splash in that part of the world. One large project became of special interest to me, when I saw the pipe-laying vessel, Lorelay, had been used to perform a tie-in on the TurkStream pipeline project.

I had spent time on the Lorely and the Solitaire, owned by Allseas, in past roles, and the large pipelaying vessels always amazed me with their ability to safely construct large pipelines out at sea and lay them at varying depths on the seabed. 

The TurkStream gas pipeline project consists of two 32-inch pipelines that stretch across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and even farther to Turkey’s border with neighboring countries. The first line of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second line is designated for Southern and South-Eastern Europe. 

When completed, each line will have throughput capacity of 15.75 Bcm of gas per year. The final weld that connects the offshore and the nearshore sections of TurkStream was completed at sea and marked the completion of the entire pipeline system in the Black Sea. 

The pipelaying vessel that completed this tie-in was the Pioneering Spirit, which is also owned by Allseas. It’s the largest construction vessel in the world, measuring over 1,500 feet long and over 400 feet wide. It is designed for deep-water pipelaying, and installation and/or removal of large oil and gas offshore platforms. For the TurkStream project, the vessel was used for the deepwater tie-ins, while the Lorelay vessel completed the shallow-water connections. 

The procedure, known technically as an “above water tie-ın,” involved retrieving the nearshore and offshore pipeline from the seabed, lifting them above water and welding them together. I have witnessed a number of “tie-ins” over the years but they have all been land-based. The total weight that had to be lifted for the operation was approximately 409 tons. Following the tie-in and weld inspections, the pipe was then lowered to the seabed. 

This above water tie-in operation was carried out on both lines in Russian waters. Following the procedure, a physical connection between the landfall facility near the Russian city of Anapa and the receiving terminal near Kiyikoy in Turkish Thrace was completed. 

The Russkaya Compressor Station has been completed and is on standby to provide the necessary pressure to move the gas through the Black Sea, and into the Anapa landfall facility.

With the completion of the receiving terminal in Kiyikoy later this year, TurkStream will be ready to commence operations and begin flowing gas by the end of 2019, supplying enough energy to support 15 million European households.   

Following the Berlin conference, came P&GJ’s Pipeline Opportunities Conference (POC) in Houston. We formed an advisory board for the first time ever, to deliver an agenda that would be informative and timely.

The advisory board included some top players in the industry: Kim Watson, president Gas Pipelines, Kinder Morgan; Dick Keyser, senior VP of Operations, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners; Susan Waller, VP of Stakeholder Engagement, Enbridge; Georgia Carter, VP & general counsel, Millennium Pipeline Company; Ed Wiegele, president of the Oil and Gas Sector, TRC Solutions; Doug Shanda, senior VP of Operations, Cheniere; and James Yardley, director of Corporate Development, Williams.  

 Former PG&E President and COO Nick Stavropoulos was the event’s keynote speaker and INGAA president and CEO Don Santa was on hand to deliver his always entertaining Washington Report. You can read more about the topics that were covered and what other incredible speakers attended by reading our recap on the back page.

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