Baltic pipelay passes mid-point

Over half of the first 1,224-km (760-mi) Nord Stream gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea has been completed.

Offshore staff

ZUG, Switzerland -- Over half of the first 1,224-km (760-mi) Nord Stream gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea has been completed.

Construction of Line 1 remains on target to start transporting gas from Russia to countries in the European Union in late 2011.

The Nord Stream project has employed three pipelay vessels and a flotilla of support ships, with over 600 km (373 mi) of pipe laid so far along different sections of the route.

Saipem’s Castoro Sei pipelay vessel started construction in April in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Gotland, laying pipe in an easterly direction into Finnish waters. The vessel was then mobilized to Russian waters to install sections of both Line 1 and Line 2, also participating in the shore-pull at Portovaya Bay, near Vyborg.

Later it transferred south to pick up another section of the first pipeline in German waters, where Saipem’s flat-bottomed construction vessel Castoro Dieci had completed the complex 27-km (16.8-mi) shallow-water section of both pipelines at the German landfall.

At the other end of the pipeline route, Allseas’ Solitaire has reached the Finnish EEZ after laying a section in Russian waters. It picked up the pipe where Castoro Sei had completed the first 7.5 km (4.7 mi) in the Russian landfall section.

“The meticulous planning of every aspect of this complex project – technical, logistic, safety, environmental and operational – has made for a smooth-running construction program,” says Nord Stream’s Deputy Director Construction Ruurd Hoekstra.

“At any one time at least 30 ships are working on the project in different parts of the Baltic Sea and everything is fitting into place. If anything our plans were conservative. It turned out that Castoro Dieci did not need all of the time that we had allowed for it to complete the shallow-water German landfall section, and it was demobilised four weeks earlier than originally planned.”


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