Russian Pipelaying Vessel Leaves Port
The Akademik Cherskiy, the pipe-laying ship Russia is counting on to complete its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, has left the Far Eastern port of Nakhodka bound for Singapore., vessel tracking data shows.
It should arrive there on February 22, according to the data.
Swiss-based contractor Allseas was forced to halt construction of Nord Stream 2 in late December after US sanctions forbade any contractors from helping lay the pipeline. According to Russia’s energy ministry, the Akademik Cherskiy is the country’s only vessel capable of completing the pipeline, but first it will require upgrades. The Gazprom-owned ship was built in 2015 by Jiangsu Hantong Ship Heavy Industry in Tongzhou, China.
Only 160 km of the combined length of Nord Stream 2’s twin strings of 2,460 km are left to complete. Originally slated for launch before the end of last year, the 55bn m3/yr pipeline is no longer expected up and running until late 2020 or early 2021, Russia's president Vladimir Putin said in January.
Although the year delay is a blow for Gazprom, the very low gas price at Europe's hubs will be some compensation for lost revenues. Norway has relaxed its exports, citing low demand as US LNG has to come to the EU as well. The winter has so far been mild.