Gazprom-led group to start laying underwater South Stream gas pipeline in 2014
Moscow (Platts)--21Nov2012/825 am EST/1325 GMT
South Stream Transport, the operating company for the underwater section
of the South Stream gas pipeline project aimed at bringing Russian gas across
the Black Sea to Europe, expects to start laying pipe in 2014, after
receiving all of the necessary approvals from the countries involved,
consortium spokesman Sebastian Sass said Wednesday.
"We estimate that all permits needed for the construction will be
received in 2014 at the latest, so that we can start [deepwater] work," he
told reporters at a briefing in Moscow.
The South Stream pipeline will bring up to 63 billion cubic meters/year
of Russian gas across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, from where the route will go
to Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia, and on to northern Italy.
Gazprom owns a 50% interest in the consortium building the subsea
section of the line, along with Italy's Eni (20%), France's EDF (15%) and the
energy unit of Germany's BASF, Wintershall (15%).
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The onland sections will be built by Gazprom in cooperation with local
The underwater section of the pipeline will cross the territorial waters
of Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria, and also includes short onshore parts, known
as landfall sections, in Russia and Bulgaria.
In Russia, the company expects to complete an environmental impact
assessment, including public hearings, and receive both environmental and
technical permits in 2014, Sass said.
The company hopes to receive the corresponding permits from Turkey and
Bulgaria within the same timeframe.
Earlier this month, Gazprom and the countries participating in the
project took final investment decisions for all sections of the pipeline.
Gazprom is to hold a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of the
subsea construction phase of the project on December 7.
The underwater section will include four parallel lines of 15.75
Bcm/year capacity each, with initial commercial deliveries through the first
line scheduled for late 2015.
The preliminary plan envisages that the second line will be completed by
the end of 2016, with the third and fourth lines to be commissioned by the
end of 2017 and 2018, respectively.
This schedule, however, is not yet final, Sass added.
Gazprom officials had previously said that the second and third lines
could be built simultaneously by the end of 2016. Under this scenario, the
fourth line would follow by end-2017.
The tender procedures for the subsea section of the project are expected
to be conducted through 2013, after which the final cost of the project can
Gazprom's preliminary cost estimate for the 925 km (574 mile) underwater
section of the pipeline route is some Eur10 billion ($12.81 billion).
--Nadia Rodova, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by James Leech, email@example.com