MEDGAZ has completed the pipe-lay operations that will directly connect Algeria to Spain. Saipem S.p.A., the Italian oil services company commissioned to build the undersea infrastructure, has finalized the 210 kilometer offshore link between Beni Saf (Algerian coast) and the Spanish coast of Almeria with the so-called last weld.
Operations were performed at 1.6 kilometers from the Beni Saf beach by the Crawler, a vessel entrusted with the task of raising the pipe left by the Castoro Sei in July 2008 and the pipe left by the Saipem 7000 in November, to make the definitive connection and once again lay the final link-up on the seabed.
Construction of the subsea pipeline was completed on schedule. Between March and June 2008, the Castoro Sei, the vessel in charge of building the offshore section corresponding to the shallow areas (up to a depth of 550 meters), welded and assembled part of the pipeline in both the Algerian and Almeria coast. Between August and November 2008, the Saipem 7000 platform laid the portion of the pipe in the deepwater section (down to 2,160 meters). With the last weld operations conducted by the Crawler, the assembly of the first ultra-deep water (over 2,000 meters) gas pipeline built in the Mediterranean can be considered completed.
Between January and March 2009, hydraulic tests will be performed to ensure that the pipeline is in good working order before its start-up, which is scheduled for the second half of next year.
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