Nord Stream-2: Gazprom cancels its search for an insurer to retrofit ‘Academic Cherskiy’

Gazprom cancels the tender for insurance of risks associated with retrofitting the ‘Academic Cherskiy’ pipelayer capable of completing Nord Stream-2. Obviously, the company has never found anybody willing to do so.

Almost four months after the announcement of the tender selection for insurance of construction and installation risks when retrofitting the pipe-layer ‘Academic Cherskiy’ it was canceled. During this time Gazprom extended the bid acceptance period about ten times. The last one was extended for May 21 with the announcement of the results on May 25. Cancellation of the tender is listed on the website of public procurement.

“Gazprom Fleet offered RUB 3.2 million for insurance of construction and installation risks in the course of ship retrofitting, risks of damage to the vessel due to mistakes and shortcomings made during the work and liability to third parties for damage to life, health, and property of third parties in the performance of work. The tender documentation states that the sum insured for works and shipboard equipment shall be 728 million rubles, and for liability in the course of shipbuilding works – 100 million rubles. The unconditional franchise was set at RUB 2 million for each insured event.

It is not known whether retrofitting of ‘Academic Cherskiy’ without risk insurance is possible or whether the insurer will be chosen outside the open tender procedures, and whether retrofitting will be carried out at all. Now the vessel is located in the German port of Mukran, where the logistics center “Nord Stream – 2” is located.

The tender for the installation of new welding equipment by Gazprom Fleet was held at the end of January. After that ‘Academic Cherskiy’ left Nakhodka and went to Europe. According to the tender’s technical documentation, after retrofitting the vessel’s capacity should be at least 120-160 joints per day and is calculated based on the conditions of the round-the-clock operation of four welding stations. In other words, the vessel must lay from one and a half kilometers to two kilometers of gas pipeline per day. At the same time, according to the documentation, retrofitting is being carried out for the construction of the pipeline in the Kirinskoye gas and condensate field on Sakhalin, and the diameter of welded pipes is specified in 30 inches, while for “Nord Stream – 2” it is more than 60 inches. At the same time, the vessel’s crossing into the Baltic Sea and its deployment in the logistics center of Nord Stream-2 leave almost no doubt that ‘Academic Cherskiy’ will be involved in the completion of the Baltic pipeline project. Together with it, the ‘Fortuna’ pipe-laying barge, which has already laid Nord Stream 2 and has been in the German port since October, will obviously be involved in the works.

The question now is when the construction work will begin. Earlier, the Danish Energy Agency said that the project operator must submit an updated work plan on the eve of resuming the laying of the pipeline and the agency will assess its compliance with the permission already issued.

In addition, the construction of Nord Stream 2 in Danish waters is prohibited in July and August due to cod spawning, and it will take several months to complete the pipe-laying work. Thus, the completion of the Baltic Sea pipeline from Russia to Germany will obviously start in autumn. About 160 kilometers remain to be completed. Mostly in Danish waters.

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