Work starts on Blue Stream line across Black Sea

A $1.7 billion contract awarded by Blue Stream Pipeline Co. BV, a 50:50 joint venture of Italian company ENI SPA and Russia's Gazprom, to a consortium led by Saipem SPA took effect Dec. 19, said Bouygues Offshore SA, a partner in the consortium.

The contract includes design, engineering, procurement, and construction of the offshore section of the Blue Stream pipeline system. The line will link Russian gas fields to Turkish customers via the Black Sea.

The Saipem consortium, which also includes Mitsui Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Corp., and Itochu Corp., began initial work on the project�including detailed onshore and offshore engineering, surveys along the pipeline route, and field testing of the pipelaying equipment and operating systems of the Saipem 7000 pipelay vessel�earlier this year (Feb 21, 2000, p. 33).

The offshore section of the system will consist of a compressor station at Beregovaya, Russia, and two 380-km offshore pipeline systems that will be laid in varying depths, the deepest of which is 2,150 m.

Gas transportation will begin immediately after the laying of the first line.

Work should be complete in 2003.

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