Location of Blue Stream
|From||Izobilny gas plant, Stavropol Krai, Russia|
|Passes through||Beregovaya compressor station, Black Sea, Durusu terminal|
|Partners||Gazprom, Eni, BOTAŞ|
|Operator||Gazprom, Blue Stream Pipeline B.V., BOTAŞ|
|Length||1,213 km (754 mi)|
|Maximum discharge||16 billion cubic metres per year|
Blue Stream is a major trans-Black Sea gas pipeline that carries natural gas from Russia into Turkey. The pipeline has been constructed by the Blue Stream Pipeline B.V., the Netherlands based joint venture of Russian Gazprom and Italian Eni. The Blue Stream Pipeline B.V. is an owner of the subsea section of pipeline, including Beregovaya compressor station, while Gazprom owns and operates the Russian land section of the pipeline and the Turkish land section is owned and operated by the Turkish energy company BOTAŞ. According to Gazprom the pipeline was built with the intent of diversifying Russian gas delivery routes to Turkey and avoiding third countries.
Preparations of the pipeline project started in 1997. On 15 December 1997, Russia and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement on construction of the subsea pipeline. At the same time, Gazprom and BOTAŞ signed a 25-year gas sale contract. In February 1999, Gazprom and Eni signed the Memorandum of Understanding to implement the Blue Stream project. Blue Stream Pipeline B.V., a joint venture of Gazprom and Eni was registered in the Netherlands on 16 November 1999. On 23 November 1999, contracts on designing, equipment supply and the offshore section construction were signed with Saipem, Bouygues Offshore S.A., Katran K companies and the consortium of Mitsui, Sumitomo and Itochu.
The construction of the Russian land section took place in 2001-2002 and the offshore section in 2001-2002. The offshore section of the pipeline was built by Italian constructor Saipem and the Russian onshore section by Stroytransgaz, a subsidiary of Gazprom. The offshore pipe was laid by the pipe-laying vessel Saipem 7000. Gas flows from Russia to Turkey started in February 2003. However, because of the price dispute between Russia and Turkey, the official inauguration ceremony at the Durusu gas metering station took place only on 17 November 2005. Attending the inauguration were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
By 2010, Blue Stream is expected to be operating at full capacity, delivering 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per annum. Total length of the pipeline is 1,213 kilometres (754 mi). The Russia's land section is 373 kilometres (232 mi) long from the Izobilnoye gas plant, Stavropol Krai, up to Arkhipo-Osipovka, Krasnodar Krai. The land section consists of the Stavropolskaya and Krasnodarskaya compressor stations. The offshore section is 396 kilometres (246 mi) long laying from the Beregovaya compressor station in Arkhipo-Osipovka to the Durusu terminal locating 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Samsun (Turkey). Turkey's land section is 444 kilometres (276 mi) long up to Ankara.
The pipeline uses pipes with different diameters: mainland section 1,400 millimetres (55 in), mountainous section 1,200 millimetres (47 in) and submarine section 610 millimetres (24 in). The gas pressure in submarine section is 25 MPa (250 atm). Being laid in depths as low as 2.2 kilometres (1.4 mi), it is considered among the deepest subsea pipelines of this diameter.
Gas from Blue Stream started to flow in February 2003, and the pipeline delivered 1.3 bcm to BOTAŞ in 2003. Gas flows have progressively increased towards the pipeline's capacity of 16 bcm per year, but have yet to reach that level. From 2010 to 2014, supplies averaged 14.1 bcm per year, with a high point of 14.7 bcm in 2012.
The total cost of the Blue Stream pipeline came to US$3.2 billion, including US$1.7 billion for its submarine segment.
Blue Stream 2
Blue Stream 2 was first proposed in 2002. In late August 2005, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed building a second line, and an expansion of the Blue Stream by the Samsun-Ceyhan link and by branch to southeast Europe. The promotion of construction the second line of pipeline, and extension it up through Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia to western Hungary has activated after decision of five countries to construct the Nabucco Pipeline from Turkey to Central and Western Europe. However, this expansion was replaced by the South Stream project, which foresees laying pipeline subsea pipeline directly from Russia to Bulgaria.
In 2009, Russian prime minister Putin proposed a line parallel to Blue Stream 1 under the Black Sea, and further from Samsun to Ceyhan. From Ceyhan natural gas would be transported to Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Cyprus. The export to Israel would be conducted through the proposed Ceyhan-Ashkelon subsea pipeline.
Building the Blue Stream pipeline was intended to be the foundation for a strategic partnership between Russia and Turkey, with joint participation in energy and transport projects. The existing gas transit route to Turkey went through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria. This land route made the gas substantially more expensive, and there were continual accusations of gas being illicitly siphoned off while being transported through Ukraine and Moldova. Russia considered that these problems could be solved by building a pipeline across the Black Sea floor.
One of the political goals of the Blue Stream project was to block the path of rival countries aiming to use the territory of Turkey to bring gas from the Caspian area to Europe. In November 1999, the presidents of Turkmenistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia signed a four-party inter-governmental agreement on building a rival Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. Within a few months, major oil and engineering companies—General Electric, Bechtel, Royal Dutch Shell—had established a joint venture to work on the competing project. By spring 2000, however, an argument had arisen among the Trans-Caspian participant nations over allocating quotas for Azerbaijan's use of the pipeline; as a result, all construction work was halted.
The construction of Blue Stream was accompanied by environmentalist protests; but these had no significant effect, since the official environmental impact assessment found no transgressions. Meanwhile, some Russian economic analysts objected that building a pipeline to Ankara meant tying Russia to a monopolist consumer, and Turkey was not a reliable partner. In the lead-up to Blue Stream's opening ceremony, the United States publicly criticized the pipeline, calling on Europe to avoid becoming any more dependent on Russia for energy.
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