In need of added natural gas export capacity, Gazprom is looking at building two more gas pipelines parallel to its planned 1,213-km Blue Stream gas pipeline, to be laid from Izobilnoye, Russia, across the Black Sea to Ankara (OGJ, Oct. 26, 1998, p. 30).
Former Gazprom Chairman Rem Vyakhirev said late last month that Gazprom would begin work on the two additional pipelines in 2003. (Vyakhirev was replaced by former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin early this month.) He did not say when the project might be completed but stressed that the triple pipeline would make Gazprom`s bid to become the main supplier of gas to the burgeoning Turkish market more competitive.
The Russian gas monopoly is still seeking financing for Blue Stream, despite earlier reports that Italian banks had agreed to provide lending. Yuri Goryainov, head of Gazprom`s investment department, said in June that a deal would probably be signed with three Western banks in July.
Gazprom and ENI are seeking loans to cover as much as 80% of the cost of the $2.4 billion project.
Goryainov also said Gazprom was considering expanding the size of the Blue Stream pipeline to 32 billion cu m/year from the planned 16 billion cu m/year. He did not say how this might affect the cost of the project, or whether it was in lieu of one, or both, of the two additional pipelines being discussed.
Gazprom has completed work on the Russian overland section, and Turkish state importer Botas has begun work on the Samsun-Ankara section.