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21 Sep, 2010 08:14

Nord stream progress to speed up with Solitaire

Nord Stream gas pipeline project leaders say it's progressing ahead of schedule, with the first phase due to be completed by next April.

On Monday, Vladimir Putin visited the world's largest pipe-laying vessel, Solitaire, which is carrying out Nord Stream construction in the Baltic Sea. The Russian Premier watched the pipes as they were sent underwater, and hailed the work already done by the engineers

“I can say we are in the right direction and doing very well despite a high complexity and protracted approvals of the project “

Sergey Serdyukov, Technical Director of Nord Stream AG said the project is progressing ahead of plan and that the use of the Solitaire could be expected to speed up the pipe laying.

“It’s the biggest vessel in the world which can conduct all offshore pipe laying operations. It's planned for it to lay 2.3km a day; but we're already reaching 2.5km. And we believe it’s quite possible to reach 3km. In fact, to lay pipes in the sea is cheaper than on land where you have to deal with landowners and compensate them. That’s complicated. Our project is very detailed and we’re already advancing in our schedule.”

Arbat Capital analyst, Vitaly Gromadin, agreed that negotiations had gone on for too long and had added considerable expense.

"The Nord Stream project has started its confident construction rally after being granted all necessary government approvals. The political and legal process of approval was too long and hindered the project as well as protracted environmental assessments which cost more than $100 million”