ZUG, Switzerland -- Construction of the Nord Stream pipeline was due to resume soon in the Finnish section of the route, with the pipe-lay vessel Solitaire entering the eastern part of the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in mid-October.
Solitaire will install much of the Finnish section this fall and early next year, laying pipe in a westerly direction, at an average rate of 2.4 km/d (1.5 mi/d).
“Construction is proceeding on schedule,” says Simon Bonnell, Nord Stream´s Task Force Manager Finland.
Solitaire will construct 227 of the 375 km (141/233 mi) of the Finnish portion. The vessel started laying pipe in Russian waters early in September and has so far laid around 120 km (74.6 mi) of the pipeline. Three pipe carrier vessels will transfer the pipe joints to the vessel from Kotka, where they have been concrete weight-coated in EUPEC´s factory.
To date, almost 500 km (310 mi) of the first Nord Stream pipeline have been constructed in Swedish, German, Russian and Finnish waters. Saipem´sCastoro Sei laid around 150 km (93 mi) this summer and early fall in the westernmost part of the Finnish EEZ.
Both of the twin-pipeline shore approach sections have also been constructed and pulled ashore at the Russian landfall in Portovaya Bay near Vyborg, and at the German landfall in Lubmin, near Greifswald.
The completed pipelines will be 1,224 km (760 mi), and comprising a total of 202,000 concrete weight coated pipes, each 12 m (39 ft) long.
Nord Stream AG has also confirmed that a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued regarding the raising of senior debt for financing the Phase II development.
The company intends to finance Phase II with 30% equity from its shareholders (Gazprom, BASF/Wintershall, E.ON Ruhrgas, Gasunie, and GDF Suez), and 70% senior debt. Nord Stream expects to procure the total debt requirement of €2.5 billion ($3.5 billion) for Phase II via:
• Syndicated loan facilities of at least €1.7 billion ($2.37 billion) of finance covered by the Export Credit Guarantee Programs of Germany (Hermes) and Italy (SACE), and the United Loan Guarantee Program of the German Government (UFK).
• A syndicated loan facility on an uncovered basis amounting to up to €1 billion ($1.4 billion).
Negotiations with Hermes, SACE and UFK are well advanced. Contracts for all finance for Phase II are expected to be concluded by the end of this year (2010).