Gazprom has commenced construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline, which stretches from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea.

A subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom, South Stream Transport will construct the offshore section of the transit-free export gas pipeline.

Gazprom management committee chairman Alexey Miller said: “Today, we started the practical implementation of the TurkStream gas pipeline project: pipe-laying within the offshore section.

"By late 2019, our Turkish and European consumers will have a new, reliable source of Russian gas imports.”

Spirit pipe-laying vessel will carry out the construction activities for the TurkStream gas pipeline in the deep-water area. Pioneering Spirit, owned by Swiss-based offshore contractor Allseas is touted to be the largest construction vessel ever built.

Another vessel of Allseas, Audacia will carry out the pipelaying work. Audacia will be also play a role in pipe pulling via microtunnels.

Allseas was awarded the contract both the strings of the offshore section of the TurkStream pipeline project. As per the contract, Allseas will lay over 900km of pipes on the seabed of Black Sea.

While the first string of the TurkStream gas pipeline is planned to serve Turkish consumers, second string will deliver gas to the southern and southeastern parts of Europe.

Both the strings will have an annual throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas.

The TurkStream gas pipeline is the result of an intergovernmental agreement signed by Russia and Turkey in October last year.

Image: The TurkStream Offshore Pipeline will start on the Russian shore near the city of Anapa. Photo: courtesy of TurkStream.