Photo: Akademik Cherskiy; Source: Gazprom Flot

Second pipelayer to join Nord Stream 2 construction

A second Russian pipe-laying vessel is undergoing sea trials ahead of joining the Nord Stream 2 project, as construction continues despite growing political pressure.

According to a Reuters article, the Akademik Cherskiy vessel left the German port of Wismar last Thursday with the intention of later joining the project in Danish waters.

The United States has criticized the plan to build the pipeline from Russia to Germany, aimed at pumping more Russian gas to Europe, saying it would increase Russia’s economic and political leverage over the region.

The stand-off has become more prevalent since last month’s imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and the announcement of the expulsion of European diplomats from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the pipeline will be built and is beneficial both for Russia and Europe.

The pipelay vessel Akademik Cherskiy departed from the port of Wismar and transited in the direction of Kaliningrad to undergo sea trials. Upon the sea trials completion, the vessel is planned to start pipelay works in the Danish EEZ”, the consortium behind the Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline told Reuters.

Nord Stream 2 AG has submitted the relevant notification to the Danish Maritime Authority. All works shall be performed in accordance with the available permits”.

Separately, the Danish Maritime Authority said it expects the construction works to be finished by the end of September. Another Russian vessel, Fortuna, is currently laying pipes in Danish waters.

The pipeline is mostly complete, but as of early February, about 120 kilometres had yet to be laid in Danish waters and almost 30 kilometres in German waters.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is led by Russian giant Gazprom with half of the funding coming from five European partners – Germany’s Uniper, BASF’s Wintershall, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV, and Engie.

The project is designed as two parallel 48-inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometres long, each starting southwest of St. Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald.

The gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.

To remind, Gazprom continued with the construction of the pipeline in Danish waters in early February despite sanctions imposed on the vessel tasked with the job – the Fortuna.