The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline construction contractors have begun pipe-laying operations in Russia’s territorial waters, RBC news agency reports with reference to a statement of Nord Stream 2 AG.
According to the press release, the Solitaire, a ship belonging to the Swiss company Allseas, is responsible for the operations in Russian territorial waters. The ship has as many as 420 active crew members, and it will carry out pipe-laying operations 24/7. The 12 meter pipes, weighing in at 24 tons, will be shipped in from the nearest logistics center in Kotka, Finland.
Around 100 km of gas pipeline will be laid in Russian waters. The operator expects the work to be completed within a month.
The operator company noted that similar pipe-laying operations are also underway on the German coast and in Switzerland’s exclusive economic zone. More than 1,100 km of gas pipeline has already been laid in the territorial waters of Finland, Sweden and Germany.
The Nord Stream 2 project is the proposed second gas pipeline from Russia to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. With a designed capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year, the pipeline will span over 1,200 km. The operating company, Nord Stream 2 AG, is owned entirely by the Russian gas monopoly, Gazprom.
Five European companies are also involved in the project: the Austrian company OMV, French Engie, British-Dutch Shell and the German companies Wintershall and Uniper. A third of the pipeline has already been laid, and the operator hopes to complete it by the end of 2019.
The US has opposed the project. Washington believes that it will give Russia “another instrument of political pressure”. US President Donald Trump promised to prevent the flow of “pipeline dollars” to Russia.