Pioneering Spirit vessel pauses Nord Stream 2 work for lift job in North Sea

Allseas-owned heavy lift and pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit will temporarily lay down pipe in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone to carry out a long-term planned platform lift work in the North Sea, according to Nord Stream 2.

Pioneering Spirit in the Gulf of Finland
Pioneering Spirit in the Gulf of Finland. Source: Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom and the operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea, said last Friday that this third-party engagement was already stipulated in the contract with Allseas signed in April 2017.

Pioneering Spirit will return to the Baltic Sea to continue laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline within approximately one month. Another short demobilization period for Pioneering Spirit is foreseen for later in 2019, Nord Stream AG added.

Nord Stream 2’s Chief Project Officer, Henning Kothe, commented: “We have a complex, non-linear schedule for laying the twin Nord Stream 2 pipelines, taking into account the environmental requirements and using a large number of vessels for the implementation of various activities. Pipelay works are progressing well and according to schedule. Also the other construction works are on track to complete the twin pipelines by the end of 2019.”

Over 1,000 people are currently working on some 20 vessels for the project in the Baltic Sea. Over 800 kilometers of pipes have so far been laid on the seabed, in line with the permits granted by Germany, Finland, Sweden, and Russia.

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 project has recently encountered resistance from the European Parliament and over forty U.S. senators.

Namely, the EP members last December called for the Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline project to be canceled due to security reasons. 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 bypasses 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, over 40 U.S. senators last December called for the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a response to Russian actions in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.

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.

However, despite calls for cancellation, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline continued with the Pioneering SPirit joining Nord Stream 2’s construction fleet in the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone in late December.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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