‘Pioneering Spirit’ wins TurkStream pipeline contract

The Pioneering Spirit, world’s largest pipelay and construction vessel will be laying a Black Sea gas pipeline after all, after having lost the South Stream pipeline contract almost two years ago.

Allseas, the owner of the Pioneering Spirit, said on Thursday it had been awarded a contract to lay the first line of the TurkStream offshore gas pipeline in the Black Sea, with an option for laying the second line.

The TurkStream pipe laying contract has been awarded to Allseas by South Stream Transport, a Gazprom-owned company initially established to operate the never-built South Stream pipeline.

To remind, South Stream Transport in 2014 decided to cancel the construction of the South Stream pipeline that should have carried Russian gas to Europe through the Black Sea via a landfall in Bulgaria.

The project was cancelled over a stand-off with the EU. The pipelaying contract for the South Stream had been awarded to Allseas’ Pieter Schelte vessel, now known as the Pioneering Spirit.

With the South Stream dropped, Russians in 2014 signed a deal to build the Turkish Stream (TurkStream) pipeline, which would carry gas from Russia to Turkey, through the Black Sea.

In a statement on Thursday, Allseas said that it will lay more than 900 km of pipes on the seabed as part of the Turkish Stream contract.

Allseas will engage the world’s largest construction vessel, the dynamically positioned Pioneering Spirit for the job.

This is an opportunity for Allseas to test the Pioneering Spirit’s pipelay equipment, after it recently tested its lifting abilities during the decommissioning of the Yme platform in the North Sea.

According to the owner, the vessel can install record weight pipelines from shallow to ultra-deep water, and has an S-lay tension capacity of 2000 tonnes.

The vessel, currently in the Alexiahaven in Rotterdam, is equipped with a double-joint factory, six welding stations for double joints and six coating stations. Allseas will start laying the first line in the second half of 2017.

The offshore pipeline will consist of four parallel pipelines running through the Black Sea. The pipelines will enter the water near Anapa, on the Russian coast, and come ashore on the Turkish coast some 100 kilometers west of Istanbul, near the village of Kiyikoy.

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