Blue Stream gas pipeline: interesting facts


Blue Stream is the largest trans-Black Sea gas pipeline through which fuel flows from Russia to Turkey. It was built by the Dutch branch of Gazprom, BV and the Italian Eni, and began operations in 2005. Part of the gas pipeline in Turkey is controlled by the local energy company BOTAS. The rest of the controlled by the Russian Federation. The main goal of Blue Stream is to diversify the ways of delivering Russian fuel to Turkey, bypassing third countries.


History of creation

Preparation of the gas pipeline project began in 1997. In December, Russia and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of a seaside canal. At the same time, Gazprom LLC and BOTAS agreed on a twenty-five-year fuel supply contract. In February 1999, a Memorandum was signed between the Russian and Italian sides, and a Dutch branch was created.

The construction of the Blue Stream was carried out in 2001-2002. The offshore section was constructed by the Italian company Saipem, and the Russian land - by Stroytransgaz. Blue Stream began operations in February 2003. However, due to the conflict between Russia and Turkey over fuel prices, the official opening ceremony at the Darusu gas measuring station was only held on September 17, 2005. It was attended by President Vladimir Putin, Prime Ministers of Turkey and Italy.


Technical characteristics of the pipeline

Blue Stream began operating at full capacity in 2010. Its capacity is 16 billion cubic meters. The total length of the Blue Stream is 1213 kilometers. The Russian part begins with the Abundant gas plant near Stavropol and ends in the Krasnodar Territory. Most of the length falls on Turkey - 444 kilometers. In the gas pipeline, pipes with different diameters are used: the land part is 1400 millimeters, the mountain part is 12000, and the sea part is 610. The pressure reaches 25 MPa. Blue Stream is considered the deepest gas pipeline in the world. It runs 2.2 miles below ground level.

In 2014, Turkey and Russia reached an agreement on increasing the capacity by 3 billion cubic meters. There was also an audit of fuel prices.


Financing and first difficulties

Blue Stream is a very large-scale project. Its actual development started back in 1987, when Turkey began to import fuel from the USSR. Initially, the volume was 0.5 billion cubic meters, today it has grown 34 times. This construction is an extremely large-scale project. The problems began at the first stage, so it was launched three years late. The total cost of building the pipeline was 3.2 billion US dollars. It was paid jointly by the Turkish and Russian side. On the construction of the marine part was spent 1.7 billion US dollars.

Immediately after the launch of the gas pipeline, the Turkish side stated that it was not ready to accept such volumes of fuel. In order to prevent the disruption of the project, the Russian Federation lowered the price and decided to reduce supplies. But this controversy is not over. In 2004, Vladimir Putin even had to intervene and reduce the price to the level of supplies along the Bulgarian route.


Blue Stream-2 gas pipeline

The project of the new highway was first proposed in 2002. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed building a second line and expanding the existing gas pipeline with the help of the Samsun-Kaihen link and branches to South-Eastern Europe. The development of the project intensified after the decision of five countries to begin construction of Nabucco. However, soon the talk of expansion turned into a project called South Stream. The new gas pipeline should connect Bulgaria and Russia directly. But now he is in a frozen state due to aggravation of relations with Ukraine.

In 2009, Vladimir Putin, as prime minister, proposed a highway that ran parallel to the Blue Stream under the Black Sea and continued on the way from Samsun to Keyhan. From there, he could transport gas to Syria, Libya, Israel and Cyprus. To date, this project remains a matter solely of the long-term perspective, no updates on its status yet.

Environmental Protection

The construction of the Blue Stream was associated with large-scale protests by environmentalists. But they did not have a significant impact on the process itself, since official environmental impact assessments showed little damage to it. Construction was continued, the launch of the project proved that there were no serious reasons for concern. But all these assessments remain controversial, because all parties are extremely interested in its functioning. Moreover, all examinations were mainly conducted by Russia, for which the Blue Stream is of strategic importance, especially after the deterioration of its relations with Ukraine and the freezing of the South Stream. Although in case of obvious violations the American side would not fail to intervene.


Current state

The Blue Stream gas pipeline is a project that should become the basis for strategic cooperation between Russia and Turkey in the energy and transport sectors. The existing transit route went through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria. Land transportation of fuel made it more expensive, there were numerous complaints about his embezzlement by the states in whose territory he ran.

But from the very beginning of the Blue Stream operation, the project had difficulties, including within Russia. As shown by the audit performed by the Accounts Chamber, the Italian company took advantage of non-lending benefits. This, of course, caused damage to the state budget. According to experts, in 2003 alone it amounted to 1 billion US dollars.


Problems and Prospects

Russia initially assumed the construction of a gas pipeline under the Black Sea. One of the political goals that the Blue Stream scheme set for itself was the need to overcome competitors in transporting gas to Europe. The country for which everyone is fighting is Turkey. Blue Stream is focused on its territory, as is the next project. Already in November 1999, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an intergovernmental agreement on the Trans-Caspian route. Within a few months, leading companies Genaral Electric and Royal Dutch Shell were already working on this project. But disputes arose between the parties, so construction was suspended.

Today, despite criticism from the United States, Blue Stream has gained strategic importance, while Europe’s dependence on Russian gas remains at the same level.

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