Allseas-owned giant pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit has joined Nord Stream 2’s construction fleet and started pipelay works in the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) despite calls from the European Parliament and the U.S. senators for the cancellation of the project.
The pipeline is operated by Russian Gazprom’s subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG.
The operator said on Sunday, December 23 that the vessel would continue installation of the natural gas pipeline following pipelay vessel Solitaire, which started construction in Finland in September.
Solitaire has moved to the southern part of the Swedish EEZ, where it will start construction of the 510-kilometer section there for the next few months.
The pipelay vessels are supported by a survey vessel, which will monitor the pipelay process and ensure that the pipeline is installed at its correct position along the agreed route on the seabed. Pipe joints will be supplied to the pipelay vessels around the clock from the project’s nearest logistics hub in Hanko, Finland and Karlshamn, Sweden respectively.
Nord Stream 2 is designed as a twin pipeline with two parallel 48 inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometers long, each starting from south-west of St Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald. Nord Stream 2’s natural gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.
The operator noted on Sunday that the project was proceeding according to plan and on schedule. It has received permits in four out of the five countries through whose waters the twin pipelines will pass. Since then, works have been carried out according to the national permits in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Russia. Construction works at the Russian and German landfalls are ongoing, and pipelay vessel Audacia finished its work in German waters on Saturday. Approximately 370 kilometers of pipeline have been laid so far.
Calls for cancellation
Earlier in December, the European Parliament members called for the Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline project to be canceled, citing security reasons. The call for cancellation was announced during the evaluation of the latest developments related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement, which entered into force in 2017.
The members of the Parliament condemned the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which bypasses Ukraine, saying it “poses a threat to European energy security.”
The project has been seen by some as a threat to the EU energy security, making the union vulnerable to reliance on Russian gas, and also bypass Ukraine in moving Russian gas to Europe. To alleviate similar concerns, the EU has been working on increasing imports of LNG from the U.S. As for Ukraine, it has been said that the Nord Stream 2 would lead to the country losing $3 billion a year in transit fees.
In addition to opposition from the EP, over 40 U.S. senators have also called for the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
U.S. Senators Ron Johnson, Richard Durbin, and 39 of their colleagues introduced a resolution calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in response to “Russia’s recent aggressive actions” in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.
Offshore Energy Today Staff