Construction of the offshore section of the TurkStream gas pipeline project commenced on Sunday in the Black Sea near the Russian coast, Gazprom announced on Sunday.
The Audacia vessel owned by Allseas - the construction contractor for both strings of the gas pipeline's offshore section - is carrying out the pipe laying, according to the statement.
The vessel will also be used for pipe pulling through micro tunnels, the statement read, adding that the Pioneering Spirit pipe-laying vessel will undertake construction for the project in the deep-water area.
Audacia is a multi-purpose pipe-laying vessel used for laying small and medium-diameter pipelines of any length and at any depth.
"Today, we started the practical implementation of the TurkStream gas pipeline project: pipe-laying within the offshore section," Alexey Miller, chairman of the board of Gazprom, was quoted as saying.
"By late 2019, our Turkish and European consumers will have a new, reliable source of Russian gas imports," Miller continued.
The TurkStream pipeline is a transit-free export gas pipeline stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey's border with neighboring countries.
One line is expected to supply the Turkish market, while a second line will carry gas to 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., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom, is responsible for the construction of the gas pipeline's offshore section.
By Ebru Sengul