Oleg Aksyutin, Chief Executive Officer of South Stream Transport B.V. and Stefano Bianchi, Senior Vice President of Saipem entered into contracts for constructing the first of the four offshore lines of the South Stream gas pipeline.
According to the signed contracts worth around EUR 2 billion, Saipem will generate the project documentation, build the first offshore line of the South Stream gas pipeline as well as erect process facilities in the shore crossing areas as well as construct the landfalls.
Pipes will be welded together on board a special pipe-laying vessel and then laid in a proper position on the seabed at a depth of up to 2,200 meters. The South Stream gas pipeline will be laid by two pipe-laying vessels of Saipem: Castoro Sei, an S-lay vessel suitable for both shallow and deep waters and Saipem 7000, a J-lay vessel that constructed the Blue Stream gas pipeline in the Black Sea in the early 2000s.
For the shore crossings, four micro-tunnels will be built on both the Russian and the Bulgarian side. This technology will allow preserving the Russian and Bulgarian coastlines. Preparations for micro-tunneling operations will start in June 2014.
Offshore construction will start in autumn 2014. The construction of the first offshore line will last until the third quarter of 2015. At the end of the same year the first line will be commissioned.