Dutch dredging firms eye Russian gas pipeline project

Gas flameDutch dredging companies Van Oord, Boskalis and Allseas are actively seeking involvement in a politically controversial subsea gas pipeline project which is fully owned by Russian oil giant Gazprom, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.

The €8bn Nord Stream 2 pipeline will cross the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, parallel to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline which was completed in 2012.

Van Oord confirmed it was seeking a contract for laying the bed to protect and stabilise the pipeline. Allseas and Boskalis were both involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, completed in 2012, and told the paper they will be tendering for the new project as well.

Allseas operates Solitaire, one of the biggest subsea pipe-laying ships in the world. A spokesman said the vessels could lay pipeline in shallow as well as deep water. Boskalis’ expertise is in levelling the sea bed and in preparing the landing of the pipeline near the shore.

A spokesman for Nord Stream 2 told the paper contracts for the project would be awarded in stages and that all work would be carried out by third-party contractors. Germany’s Europipe, for example, will supply more than 1,100 kilometres of pipeline, roughly half the 2,400 kilometres required.

Nord Stream 2 will have annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres of gas and will double Russia’s export of gas. The project was condemned in planning stages as a done deal between German and Russian leaders.

The project is also criticised by the EU which wants to reduce its dependency on Russian gas and fears Russia will once again turn off the gas tap to Ukraine and halt the export of gas to the EU through Ukraine. Russia accounts for 40% of EU gas consumption.

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