In a milestone for the energy sector, the last offshore section of TurkStream was put into place on November 19. What does it mean for Turkey and the region?
As TurkStream nears completion, we look at the costs and the benefits
1 Sea section of the project complete
The last offshore section of TurkStream natural gas pipeline that will carry 31.5 billion cubic meter natural gas from Russia to Turkey, was put into place on November 19. The construction in deep water began on June 23, 2017 and entered Turkey’s exclusive economic zone on November 4 the same year. Following the completion of the first section on April 30, 2018, the construction of the second section started on June 26.
2 Emphasis on TurkishRussian friendship
“Since 1987, Turkey has purchased a total of 387 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a ceremony in Istanbul marking the completion of TurkStream’s offshore section. “Our cooperation in the field of energy has passed all kinds of tests, as in other areas.” Russian Federation President, Vladimir Putin, said in his speech that the project would make Turkey an important center for natural gas. “It is not possible to complete such a project without trust between the two countries,” Putin noted, thanking Erdogan for demonstrating political courage.
3 50 percent of capacity will be sent to Europe
TurkStream, consisting of two lines, is enough to meet the annual energy needs of 15 million households. Turkey will receive 15.75 billion cubic meters of the gas while the remaining capacity will be sent to Europe.
4 At what stage is the project?
The construction of the reception terminal in Kiyikoy, where the pipeline goes ashore, is continuing. Here, natural gas from sea pipes will be transferred to land pipelines. Following the reception terminal, BOTAS will build the first land line that will be connected to Turkey’s distribution network in Luleburgaz. The other land line that will be connected to Europe will be built by a BOTAS-Gazprom partnership company. Once the construction of the reception terminal in Kiyikoy is complete in 2019, TurkStream will become operational.
5 Important contribution to energy security
One of the biggest energy infrastructure projects in the world, TurkStream will make significant contribu- tions to the energy security of the region. Beginning near the city of Anapa on the Russian coast, the pipeline goes across the Black Sea and comes ashore near Kiyikoy in Turkey’s Thracian region. TurkStream will secure the production in the region by providing natural gas for heavily populated industrial cities in the west of Turkey such as Istanbul, Bursa, Kocaeli and Izmir.
6 Breakthrough technical specifications
The first pipeline system with a diameter of 81 centimeters was installed at a depth of more than two kilometers, using the latest technologies. In this giant project, pipes of 12 meters in length and 9 tonnes each, manufactured with special steel of about four centimeter thickness, were assembled on the construction ship and then placed on the sea floor.
7 Pioneering Spirit
The deep-water offshore construction of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline was made by the world’s largest pipe laying vessel, the Pioneering Spirit. Owned by Allseas, the ship is the most technologically advanced construction vessel in the world, designed for the installation and decommissioning of oil and gas platforms. During the pipe laying of the two lines, 1,860 kilometers of pipes were laid in the Black Sea. The vessel laid 6.27 kilometers of pipes in one day on August 26, a new world record, far surpassing the daily average of four kilometers.
8 Fact and figures
A total of 158,000 pipes, each measuring 12 meters and weighing 9 tonnes, were used in the construction the 930 kilometer-long lines. Pipes were produced in Germany, Japan and Russia and stored in Varna and Burgas in Bulgaria as well as and Samsun and Trabzon ports in Turkey. Up to 400 pipes were transferred from these ports to the ship every day. An average of 5 km of pipes were laid daily. Tens of thousands of staff from more than 40 countries worked on the project.
9 Bulgaria reported as route choice for TurkStream 2
The pipeline’s second string will transfer gas to Europe via Turkey. Discussions between Russia’s energy giant, Gazprom, and Bulgaria and Greece are ongoing to determine the destination point for the second line. Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on November 22 that Gazprom will extend the TurkStream natural gas pipeline’s second string to Bulgaria. Kommersant claimed that Russian gas would flow from Turkey to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia. The start of natural gas deliveries to Bulgaria and Serbia is expected in 2020, and it is anticipated that gas flows to Hungary will begin in 2021.
10 Opposition of Ukraine and some other European countries
This route option through these countries means that natural gas deliveries via Ukraine would be avoided. Ukraine, along with some European countries, opposes the TurkStream project’s second line as they consider that it will contribute to an increase in Russia’s monopoly in the European gas market. Although objections to the project in Europe are likely to continue, the Russian company is in compliance with the EU’s competition law.