The board of Russia’s RAO Gazprom has approved a $2,500 million pipeline project under the Black Sea to transport additional Siberian gas supplies. Feasibility studies by a Russian-Netherlands joint venture called Petergaz will be completed by May or June, a senior Gazprom official in Moscow said on 9 January.

Petergaz has been formed between Gazprom and the Netherland’s Hareema. The Black Sea section will reach a depth of 2.1 kilometres, twice as deep as anywhere else in the world, Petergaz general manager Harry van der Hayden said. The project will be financed by credits obtained by joint ventures between Gazprom and state pipeline and gas agency Botas, officials of the Russian company say.

The pipeline will supply 3,000 million cubic metres a year (mcm/y) of gas on its completion in 2000, the official says. Throughput will eventually rise to about 16,000 mcm/y in 2010. Total imports of Russian gas are expected to rise to about 30,000 mcm/y by 2010 from about 6,000 mcm/y at present through the pipeline and another existing pipeline from the Bulgarian border to Ankara (Oil & Gas, MEED Special Report, 1:11:96).

The new pipeline will have a total length of 1,055 kilometres, of which 290 kilometres will be in Russia, running from the Izobilnaya compressor station in southern Russia to the port of Jhubga; 380 kilometres will be under the Black Sea; and the remaining 385 kilometres will run between the port of Samsun and Ankara.

The Black Sea routing was chosen because an alternative route through the former Soviet Caucasian republics of Georgia and Armenia was more circuitous, and about $500 million more expensive, a Gazprom engineer says.