Nord Stream 2 pipelay work starts in Finland

Offshore pipelay vessel Solitaire (Image courtesy of Allseas)

The offshore pipelay vessel Solitaire, owned by Allseas, started on Wednesday the pipelay for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline in the Gulf of Finland.

Gazprom-operated Nord Stream 2 will link Russia and Germany, supplying Russian natural gas to Europe.

Before the start of pipelay, Solitaire was equipped and tested to meet the project’s “strict” requirements.

“Nord Stream 2’s construction plan takes into consideration different construction conditions, in particular environmental requirements,” Gazprom said in a statement.

Solitaire for example uses a dynamical positioning system with thrusters to position itself accurately. It is thus only the pipeline that touches the seabed. Using a vessel operating without anchors ensures additional safety in the congested Gulf of Finland.

Solitaire is a 300-meter-long and 41-meter-wide vessel that will lay pipes around the clock seven days a week.

The vessel has accommodation on board for 420 persons. Pipe supply vessels (PSVs) will deliver the 12-meter, 24-ton pipes used to build Nord Stream 2 to the pipelay vessel from the project’s nearest logistics hubs, such as Kotka or Hanko, to maintain the necessary pipe stock.

The pipes are welded together on board the vessel, then welds are tested and finally the pipeline is lowered down to the seabed. A survey vessel will perform surveys prior to and after pipelay to verify that the pipeline is located at its correct position.

The safety zone around the pipelay vessel is 1.85 kilometers (1 nautical mile) and around the survey vessels Oceanic and Olympic Triton 500 meters (0.3 nautical miles).

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