30 Mar 2010 14:30

Gazprom begins undersea section of Dzhugba-Sochi gas pipeline

MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Gazprom began laying the undersea section of the Dzhubga-Lazarevskoye-Sochi gas pipeline on Tuesday, the gas giant said in a press release.

The work will be completed in June 2010.

The general contractor for the pipeline project is Romanian Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP). It has already gathered a number of vessels near the Tuapse shore: the pipe-laying barge C-Master, the research vessel GSP Prince and the tugboats GSP Phoenix and BOA Magnitor.

The main work - welding the pipe, checking the quality of the seams, waterproofing and laying the pipeline on the sea floor - will be conducted aboard C-Master, which is equipped with a dynamic positioning system. Another pipe-laying barge, Bigfoot I, will join the project in mid-April for operations in shallow water areas.

The pipe-laying will continue around the clock, with each section taking about 8.5 minutes to add. Given normal weather conditions, the gas pipeline will advance 2-2.5 kilometers a day. C-Master will be loaded with 500-600 pipe sections a day, allowing it to sustain continuous operations.

"Implementation of the offshore section of the pipeline has begun in accordance with the schedule approved earlier, while construction of the onshore section is virtually completed," the general director of Stroitransgazmontazh Ruslan Goryukhin, is quoted in the press release as saying.

Currently 11.8 kilometers of the linear section of the onshore pipeline has been laid. Holes are being drilled for the pipeline from the shoreline at Tuapse and Kudepsta. Similar work near Novomikhailovskoye and Dzhubga has already been finished.

Construction of the Dzhubga-Lazarovskoye-Sochi gas pipeline is part of preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The pipeline will provide a reliable supply of gas to the city and the Olympic venues being build at the same time it jump starts gasification of the Sochi and Tuapse districts and reduces the energy shortage in the Black Sea coastal area in the Caucasus.

The 177-kilometer pipeline includes 159.5 kilometers at sea, which will run parallel to and about 4.5 kilometers from shore, to the Kudepsta gas distribution station near Sochi.

The pipeline will connect to shore at Dzhubga, Novomikhailovskoye, Tuapse and Kudepsta. The 530-mm pipeline will have capacity to ship about 3.8 bcm a year.