The beginning of the “zero” years, “Gazprom” marked shock construction. In 2001, in the presence of President Putin, the unique Zapolyarnoye gas condensate field, located 200 km from Novy Urengoy, was put into operation. The drilling and development of this supergiant with reserves of 3.5 trillion cubic meters of gas and 80 million tons of gas condensate has been going on for 35 years! But on the other hand, the result turned out to be famous – already in 2004, 100 billion cubic meters of gas per year were produced at the field from the Cenomanian deposits, and in 2013, with the development of deeper Valanginian (or Neocomian) horizons, Zapolyarka reached its full design capacity – 130 billion cubic meters of gas in year! Now it is the largest gas field in Russia.
The main gas transportation system was also developed. Unlike the hero of a popular song, Gazprom needed the Turkish coast. At the end of 2002, the Blue Stream 1,200-kilometer export gas pipeline, built in the shortest possible time, was put into operation, laid from the village of Izobilny in the Stavropol Territory to the Turkish capital Ankara through the Black Sea. The length of the offshore section from Arkhipo-Osipovka (Beregovaya compressor station) to the Turkish terminal Durusu was about 400 km. The planned volume of pumping – 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year – was achieved in 2017.
Despite the success of the Blue Stream, it can be said that its construction and operation have become a kind of warm-up before the construction of a mega-object of strategic importance for the global fuel and energy market – the Nord Stream twin-line pipeline laid along the bottom of the Baltic seas from Russian Vyborg to German Greifswald. The length of the pipe is 1224 km, the diameter is 1220 mm, the co-owners, in addition to Gazprom, are the giants of the European gas industry: the German E.ON and Wintershall, the Dutch Gasunie and the French Engie. Built in just two years, the gas pipeline was put into operation in October 2012 and quickly reached its design capacity (55 billion cubic meters of gas per year), and then surpassed it. At present, Nord Stream is steadily pumping about 60 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Separately, it should be said about the Portovaya compressor station located in Vyborg, which can be called the “heart of Nord Stream”. The station with a capacity of 366 MW is a unique, one-of-a-kind facility – giving an outlet pressure of 220 bar, Portovaya provides uncompressed gas pumping along the entire sea route. Moreover, there is no compressor station in Greifswald – the pressure reserve is enough to transport gas for another 100 km. A natural gas liquefaction plant and the Cryogas-Vysotsk offshore LNG terminal have been launched near Portovaya.
As you know, the Nord Stream expansion project, Nord Stream 2, is currently being implemented, and today everyone is talking about it. The project is under US sanctions, the construction of the pipeline has been going on for more than three years (since May 2018), and it is not clear when it will be completed, and whether it will be.
Now let’s go back south to the Black Sea, through which Gazprom, together with the Turkish gas operator Botas, recently laid the two-string TurkStream pipeline. The length of the pipe is about 1100 km, the diameter is 813 mm, the pressure is 28 MPa, the pumping volume is 32 billion cubic meters of gas per year. During the construction of the offshore section Anapa – Lyuleburgas, 900 km long, a world record was set for the speed of laying offshore gas pipelines – 6270 m per day. The ceremonial launch of the pipe took place in January 2020 in the presence of the heads of the countries concerned, and a year later the Balkan Stream pipeline was launched, which is a continuation of the Turkish Stream for Bulgaria and Serbia. At the same time, there are plans to pump gas from the Turkish Stream to other countries – Greece, North Macedonia, Hungary and Slovakia.
Gazprom did not forget about the Chinese direction either. The main gas project on the Eastern Front is the Power of Siberia pipeline from the Chayandinskoye gas condensate field in Yakutia to the Chinese border city of Heihe. BigaI part of the highway passed along the route of the previously built oil pipeline East Siberia – the Pacific Ocean (ESPO).
The Power of Siberia, a joint brainchild of Gazprom and the Chinese oil and gas giant CNPC, was built at an accelerated pace over 4 years and was launched in December 2019 in the presence of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. The length of the pipeline is 2159 km, diameter is 1420 mm, operating pressure is 9.8 MPa, export capacity is 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year. In addition, another 42 billion cubic meters of gas per year coming from Chayanda and Kovykta will be consumed by the Amur GPP in the city of Svobodny, Amur Region. The plant, which began construction in 2015 and is scheduled to be completed in 2024, will be the largest gas processing plant in Russia and one of the largest in the world. The enterprise will produce helium and liquefied gases – ethane, propane, butane and pentane-hexane.
Although there is a lot of talk about the overestimated construction costs and understated gas prices for Chinese comrades around the “Power of Siberia”, it must be admitted that this pipe diversified Russian gas exports, gave impetus to the development of previously “dormant” large fields in the east of the country and ensured accelerated gasification of areas, adjacent to the highway.