By Murat Temizer
ANKARA (AA) – Nearshore trench works for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project started on Sunday, July 22 near Turkey's northwestern town of Kiyikoy, the South Stream Transport B.V Company that is conducting the offshore pipeline said Monday.
According to the official announcement, Turkey's nearshore component involves constructing seabed trenches of around 2.4 kilometers in length from the shoreline to the sea in order to embed the pipes as a protection against sea waves and to avoid interference with fishing in the area.
The offshore trenching process is expected to last four to eight weeks.
The company noted that independent third party experts prepared an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to determine the best route for the pipeline, taking into account potential environmental impacts and other risks.
"These studies demonstrate that the nearshore work will have small, temporary and localized effects for the local fishing industry. After a thorough consultation process with various Turkish stakeholders, including local community representatives and fishing groups, the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization approved the EIA in September 2017," the company said.
"We are pleased to be in line with our construction schedule to ensure that gas deliveries start by the end of 2019. We will try and make sure to minimize and mitigate the disturbance to the local residents during the nearshore works," Sander van Rootselaar, the TurkStream spokesperson added in a written statement.
According to the announcement, the TurkStream project company is engaging with local fishermen over a voluntary compensation scheme for potential loss of income during the period of nearshore works within the framework of its commitment to remedy any local impacts.
"The compensation scheme is part of TurkStream’s corporate responsibility and good neighborhood policy, in combination with a series of other measures intended to support the wellbeing of the local economy and people of Kiyikoy," the company explained.
In addition, the company said that in parallel, the Pioneering Spirit, the largest construction vessel in the world undertaking pipelaying for the project, is progressing at a fast pace since the offshore construction of the second line resumed on June 26.
Furthermore, the landfall facilities on the Russian side of the Black Sea near the city of Anapa is in the final stages of construction and will be completed in 2018, the company said.
TurkStream is a gas pipeline project stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey's border with neighboring countries.
The first line of the pipeline intends to supply gas to Turkish consumers, while the second line is designated for consumers in southern and southeastern Europe.
Each line will have the throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
South Stream Transport B.V. is responsible for the construction of the gas pipeline's offshore section.