Castoro 10 pipelaying vessel; Source: Saipem

Saipem wraps up work on gas project destined to boost Europe’s LNG arsenal

Italy’s engineering, drilling, and construction services provider Saipem has completed its subsea assignment on a natural gas project off the coast of Greece, which will bolster the liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply in Southeast Europe.

Castoro 10 pipelaying vessel; Source: Saipem

Saipem finished its pipelaying job related to Gastrade’s Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in August 2023. Two months later, the European Commission, under EU State aid rules, gave its seal of approval for a €106 million Greek measure to support the completion of the construction of Gastrade’s DNV-classed liquefied natural gas terminal in Alexandroupolis.

The Italian giant has contributed to the construction of the Independent Natural Gas System (INGS) off the coast of Alexandroupolis in Greece, which enabled it to assist the country in securing access to new alternative LNG supply sources with a recently converted floating storage regasification unit (FSRU).

The Alexandroupolis, former 2010-built LNG carrier GasLog Chelsea, was converted to an FSRU at Seatrium shipyard in Singapore in 2023. Following the ten-month conversion, the unit sailed away from Singapore on November 26, 2023, and entered the waters of the Thracian Sea of Greece on December 7, 2023. Upon its arrival in Greece, the FSRU was anchored through a spread 12-point mooring system.

The FSRU Alexandroupolis was anticipated to be connected to the National Natural Gas Transmission System of Greece via a 28-kilometer-long pipeline developed by Corinth Pipeworks, a steel pipes segment of Cenergy Holdings. The commissioning cargo was delivered to the FSRU on February 18 onboard GasLog Hong Kong LNG carrier.

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Saipem’s scope of work for the project, which was awarded by the Greece-based utility company Gastrade, encompassed the offshore installation of a 24 km 30” diameter pipeline with its Castoro 10 pipelay vessel, pipeline end manifold, mooring lines, and high-pressure natural gas transfer system, transmitting the gas through a flexible riser to the pipeline end manifold, on the seabed, where the gas transmission pipeline is connected.

Recently, Maritime Developments Limited (MDL) confirmed its part in helping the Italian giant to progress the LNG development offshore Greece, which consisted of work related to the first FSRU under the Greek flag and a mooring and pipeline system, connecting the FSRU to the country’s INGS.

With testing activities out of the way, the terminal was expected to become commercially operational with a maximum sustainable regasification capacity of 5.5 billion cubic meters per year.

“We are proud to have taken part in this project that will play a significant role in enhancing the security of supply and developing Southeast European energy markets,” highlighted Saipem.