Construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline begun on May 7 in the Black Sea near the Russian coast, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said.

“Today, we started the practical implementation of the TurkStream gas pipeline project: pipe-laying within the offshore section. By late 2019, our Turkish and European consumers will have a new, reliable source of Russian gas imports,” Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said.

Pipelaying is carried out by the Audacia vessel owned by Allseas, the construction contractor for both strings of the gas pipeline’s offshore section. The vessel will be also used for pipe pulling through microtunnels.

The Pioneering Spirit pipe-laying vessel will perform construction works for the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in the deep-water area.

In an effort to bypass transit countries, Gazprom is pushing ahead with the Turkish Stream pipeline stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey’s border with neighboring countries.

The first string of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second string will deliver gas to southern and southeastern Europe, Gazprom said. However, the second stream would have to abide by European Union law, the European Commission has said since it will cross EU territory.

Brussels is lukewarm about the project since it is not providing a new supply source and does not reduce reliance on Russia.

Each string will have the throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas per year, according to Gazprom.

On October 10, 2016, Russia and Turkey signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on Turkish Stream. South Stream Transport B.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of Gazprom, is responsible for the construction of the gas pipeline’s offshore section.

Allseas Group is the world’s leading company in offshore pipe-laying and subsea construction while Audacia is a multi-purpose pipe-laying vessel used for laying small- and medium-diameter pipelines of any length and at any depth.

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