Blue Stream

Significance

The Blue Stream gas pipeline is designed to deliver Russian natural gas to Turkey across the Black Sea bypassing third countries. Blue Stream supplements the gas transmission corridor running from Russia to Turkey via Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria.

Blue Stream has significantly enhanced the reliability of gas supplies to Turkey and it contributes to the gas market and infrastructure development in this country.

Blue Stream gas pipeline and layout of South Stream gas pipeline

Blue Stream gas pipeline and layout of South Stream gas pipeline

Uniqueness and technical features

Blue Stream is a unique gas transmission facility unparalleled in the world. Having constructed the pipeline, Gazprom turned a new page in the history of cutting-edge gas transmission technologies.

Blue Stream – unique gas transmission facility

Blue Stream – unique gas transmission facility

The Blue Stream total length amounts to 1,213 kilometers.

Specific engineering solutions were applied during the pipeline construction in order to enhance its reliability as the Russian mountainous section is over 60 kilometers long and the offshore section runs at depths of up to 2,150 meters in an aggressive hydrogen sulfide environment. For instance, these solutions include high-grade corrosion-resistant steel pipes with internal and external polymer coatings, pipeline stress testing, intellectual cut-ins at the mountainous and offshore sections, etc.

For the first time ever in the Russian oil and gas sector extensive tunnels were built at the mountainous section of the gas pipeline under the Kobyla and Bezymyanny Ridges. The length of the tunnels totaled 3,260 meters.

In parallel with the gas pipeline construction environmental measures were taken, such as land remediation along the whole pipeline route and preservation of more than 4 hectares of relic woods when crossing the Kobyla and Bezymyanny Ridges with the tunnels.

Cooperation

Owning the world’s largest pipelaying fleet and having a great expertise in submerged gas pipeline construction, Italian Eni acted as Gazprom’s key partner in the Blue Stream construction.

Italian Eni – Gazprom’s key partner in Blue Stream construction

Italian Eni – Gazprom’s key partner in Blue Stream construction

History

On December 15, 1997 Russia and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement. Under the agreement Gazprom and Turkish Botas inked the contract stipulating that 365 billion cubic meters of gas should be supplied to Turkey via Blue Stream during 25 years.

In February 1999 Gazprom and Italian Eni signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly implement the Blue Stream project.

On November 16, 1999 a special-purpose Russian-Italian joint venture, Blue Stream Pipeline Company B.V. was set up in the Netherlands by Gazprom and Eni on a par. Presently, the joint venture owns the offshore gas pipeline section including the Beregovaya compressor station. Gazprom is the owner and the operator of the onshore section.

Tunnels constructed at onshore mountainous section of gas pipeline for first time in Russian oil and gas industry

Tunnels constructed at onshore mountainous section of gas pipeline for first time in Russian oil and gas industry

The construction of the 396-kilometer onshore section of Blue Stream started in September 2001 and was totally completed in May 2002.

On December 30, 2002 the gas pipeline was commissioned. Commercial gas supplies via the gas pipeline started in February 2003.

Current status

The full gas pipeline capacity is 16 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As of March 11, 2014 the amount of gas supplied (since February 2003) via Blue Stream totaled 100 billion cubic meters.

High-grade corrosion-resistant steel pipes used in gas pipeline construction

High-grade corrosion-resistant steel pipes used in gas pipeline construction

Gas supplies via the Blue Stream gas pipeline
  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total supplies to Turkey, billion cubic meters 19.9 23.4 23.8 20 18 26 27 26.7
Supplies to Turkey via Blue Stream, billion cubic meters 7.5 9.5 10.1 9.8 8.1 14 14.7 13.7
Saipem 7000 pipelaying vessel

Saipem 7000 pipelaying vessel

It is noteworthy that in certain periods at the Turkish party’s request Blue Stream daily conveys the amount of gas equal to its full capacity. This happens in case Iran defaults on its obligations. Gazprom compensates for gas delivery shortfalls giving a helping hand to the Turkish colleagues.

Gazprom is also capable of covering peak demand during regular low temperature periods in Turkey.