Crane-assembly pipe-laying vessel "Akademik Chersky"
Now, when so many copies have been broken about Nord Stream-2, will the Americans let it be completed or not, whether it will affect gas pumping along the Ukrainian route or not, and what matters to Warsaw and London, there has been a certain defocusing of attention. People who have fallen into this information funnel, like in the eye of a typhoon, do not see anything behind it, figuratively speaking, they do not see the forest behind the fence. I would like to help them focus. This article focuses on just that.
SP-2. It is done
I would like to start with Nord Stream 2. Many do not even see the obvious here. The pipe-laying barge "Fortuna" did its job - by June 16, before the summit at the highest level of the USA-RF, it laid down its line "B" SP-2. This, as expected, should have added trump cards to Vladimir Vladimirovich at the planned event, but, you know, it was not about SP-2, and not even about Ukraine, but about bilateral Russian-American relations and whether America will be able to drag the Russian Federation to its side in its confrontation with China. This was the main topic of the negotiations, everything else, even the containment of the Russian advantage in the military sphere (in particular, in hypersonic delivery systems) was secondary for Biden. Well, I will not be distracted (we will talk about the summit separately). Returning to SP-2.
"Fortuna" did its job, laid the pipe of the "B" branch on the Baltic bottom. But the work does not end there, you still need to weld the joint. And this, I can tell you, is not even a simple operation at all. And although the pipe lies in shallow water (up to 30 m), no one is going to cook it under water. This is a very important seam. In order to weld it, both ends of the pipe are raised to the surface, laid on a special pontoon, dried and carefully welded, checking for leaks, and then they are also carefully laid on the seabed. Everything about everything will take a week or two in good weather (when the wind speed increases, the pipe will have to be thrown off, it takes almost a day to lift it and lay it on the Fortuna pontoon). But, nevertheless, the main thing has already been done. Checking the tightness of the entire pipe, pumping there first nitrogen and then technical gas, licensing and certification of this high-risk technical facility will take another month. And there is a very strong hope that by September 26, by the day of the next parliamentary elections in Germany, Frau Merkel will be able to say: “SP-2 line“ B ”is ready for operation and gas has flowed through it!”, Which will greatly affect the election results. you can not even doubt.
For those who have forgotten, I would like to remind you that the "A" line of SP-1 was solemnly launched on November 8, 2011 (with great fanfare, with a large gathering of top officials of four states - Germany, Russia, France and the Netherlands), and the "B" was launched only 11 months later - on October 8, 2012. And nothing, the world did not collapse. And the design capacity of this line (27 billion cubic meters of gas / year) was also reached only after a couple of years. In such matters, no one is in a hurry. Gas workers know this, but politicians another scale of measurement. Journalists are focused on politicians, they are the ones who fan the information fire, raising the level of discussion, raising or lowering someone's stakes. Politics is a delicate matter.
Few people know that KMTUS "Akademik Chersky" had problems with the laying of the "A" line. Purely technical. He even had to go back, lift the pipe already laid on a section of several kilometers, cut it into metal and re-lay it, because inconsistencies with the requirements for tightness of the joints were found. With a design maximum laying speed of 3,15 km / day (with a wind speed of no more than 4 m / s), "Akademik Chersky" gave at most 400 m / day. TUB "Fortuna", having this indicator is much lower (its maximum design speed of laying is not more than 1,21 km / day with a wind of not more than 3 m / s), passed from 700 to 1000 per day, and in the last sections it even gave 1200 meters , which leads to some questions. The cost of "Chersky" with the installation of a dynamic positioning system on it (which is not available on "Fortune") has seriously exceeded $ 1 billion. And tell me then, why do we need such "academicians"?
Pipe-laying barge "Fortuna"
By the way, the exit of "Fortuna" towards "Chersky" from the German end of pipe "A" ("Chersky" is now working on its Danish section) is technically inexpedient due to the fact that the German pipe now lies in shallow water and drag it to a depth of 300 m, so that there make the last joint, no one will. Therefore, we will lay the thread "A" and weld it when we put it in and weld it, well, if by the end of 2021, as promised by Deputy Prime Minister Novak (Putin, however, talked about two months - until the end of summer). We'll see. "Chersky" still has to go about 70 km, even at a laying speed of 700 m / day, this is a task for 100 days.
There is a "golden" seam! But there are also problems
While this material was being written, some events took place, which I cannot but inform you about. There are good ones newsand there are bad ones. I'll start with the good ones. On June 10, a significant event took place - the last “golden” seam was welded on the B branch of Nord Stream 2 and technical the gas de facto went to Germany. Those. By the time Vladimir Putin met with Joseph Biden, both of them knew that SP-2 had begun to function, which could not but add trump cards to the Russian side, and their American colleagues could only congratulate them through clenched teeth on this unfortunate event. Moreover, attention is drawn to the speed with which all this happened. Above, I assigned from a week to two technological work to this important event, "Fortuna" did it in 6 days! There is still time left even for the meeting of the leaders of the two countries to also put technical gas through the pipeline as part of its technological tests. I think the team and teams of welders of the pipe-laying barge "Fortuna" will be presented with state awards. They have done no less, and maybe even more, to strengthen Russia in the international arena than the builders of the Crimean Bridge. That this is how you will understand from the second bad news.
On the night of June 15, TUB "Fortuna" replaced the SP-2 KTUS "Akademik Chersky" on the "A" line, which at the time of replacement had to stretch 68 km of the pipe (in Danish and German waters in total). Those. the technical problems I had assumed for Chersky turned out to be a reality. It could not maintain the nominal pipe laying speed of 3,15 km / day, giving out from 400 to 700 meters maximum, which is why it was replaced by "Fortuna", which produces from 1000 to 1200 meters / day. Putin is in a hurry - the "A" branch has to be taken from the nose before September 26, before the day of parliamentary elections in Germany. While at the helm Frau Merkel SP-2 is in no danger. If the “greens” come to power in Germany, the SP-2 may start having problems. I would like these problems not to concern the pipe itself, let them fight for the 3rd energy package, whether SP-2 will fall under its influence or not.
The fact that these guys are not on friendly terms, trying to remain without gas in cold European winters, betrays a pleasant fact for us that their friends from the European Parliament have addressed the European Commission with a proposal (and the European Parliament is just an advisory body, its decisions are only advisory for the European Commission character), in order to punish Belarus for an act of international terrorism (we are talking about a "gangster" landing of an aircraft at the Minsk airport) to cut off the gas to Belarusians, which they (more precisely, Gazprom) pump to Europe via the Yamal-EU gas pipeline. That instantly raised gas prices even higher. On June 10, the Dutch gas exchange TTF updated the historical maximum cost of a thousand cubic meters of gas, breaking the record in October 2018, it was second only to the indicators of the distant and pleasant for Gazprom in 2011-12. Miller, looking at this, only rubs his hands and counts the profits, and for some reason Gazprom, loyal to him, is in no hurry to increase the rates of gas pumping through its existing pipelines, distantly observing how the Europeans risk meeting the winter of 2022 with half-empty gas storage facilities and very high prices for gas. I think if the winter is cold, then even the "greens" in Germany, if, God forbid, they come to power (which is not even a fact!) 2 from the norms of the 3rd energy package. And the fact that the SP-2 will operate, and both of its lines, is already a scientifically proven medical fact (divide the remaining 68 km of the pipe by the speed of the Fortuna laying of 1000 m / day and calculate how many days it will take for this, and then count how much is left until September 26, and draw your own conclusions).
I have to put an end to this. The rest of the gas problems will be discussed in the next text.
To be continued.