Why hasn’t the pipe-laying Akademik Chersky started building “Nord stream-2” yet?

“Academik Chersky” still stands in Germany. And there are more and more questions about when Gazprom will start building “Nord stream-2.” Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst of the Federal national security service, shared his opinion on the start of the work.

The question of when the construction of “Nord stream-2” will continue remains open. Buildings can bring new problems: construction work in its waters may be slowed down in July and August due to cod spawning. In this regard, the completion of the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany will likely begin in the fall.

A leading analyst of the national energy security Fund (NSEF) Igor Yushkov shared his opinion on the continuation of the construction of “Nord stream-2”:

“Gazprom expected to build it in the summer, because the sea is calmer in the summer, and the pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky can move at the maximum speed for itself. For this vessel, this is about 2 km per day of pipe lying. And I think that Gazprom conducted it to start work at the end of May or early June because we need to lay a little more than 100 km of the gas pipeline-about 40 km of one line and about 70 km of the other. If he works alone, he will need, in perfect condition at 2 km per day, two or three months to complete these works.”
“I assume that Gazprom expects to work now, and not in the autumn when there will be more storms and work will be slower. Also, Gazprom should probably not delay this issue, because the longer the company does it, the more chances the US will have to come up with some new sanctions and complicate the work,” Yushkov said.

The story of the tender

It was also reported in the media that Gazprom canceled a tender aimed at ensuring risks associated with retrofitting the pipe-laying company Akademik Chersky after four months from its start. The Russian company extended the deadline ten times, the last one on May 21, with the announcement of results on May 25.
“Gazprom Flot offered 3.2 million rubles for insurance of construction and installation risks during the work on the ship’s retrofitting, risks of damage to the boat due to errors and shortcomings made during the job, and liability to third parties for causing damage to the life, health, and property of third parties during the work. The tender documentation States: the insurance amount for jobs and ship equipment should be 728 million rubles, and for liability in the performance of shipbuilding works – 100 million rubles. The unconditional deductible was set at the level of 2 million rubles for each insured event,” the publication adds.
Whether Chersky will be retrofitted or whether the insurer will be selected outside of open tender procedures is still unknown, because Gazprom, Yushkov stressed, refrains from commenting.
Recall that the modernization of the Akademik Chersky was necessary for the vessel to be able to lay pipes of the diameter required for the “Nord stream–2.” Previously, the pipelayer worked with smaller canals in the construction of the Sakhalin–3 gas pipeline in the Sea of Okhotsk.
“It is difficult to say what is happening there. Gazprom does not comment on anything. It is unclear whether the ship was upgraded in Nakhodka or not. There was a version that the tender was held retroactively. And it would be quite logical if all the work was done in Nakhodka because now it would probably be strange to go to some ports and carry out modernization,” the expert explained.
“If you have traveled all over the world, have already come to the Baltic Sea, and then leave it under the pretext of modernizing it – it is quite stupid. And no fantastic modernization is required. The ship is currently performing somewhat routine repairs in Germany, yet it has come a very long way. And we can say that the German port of Mukran is the only one where it went after the Discovery,” Yushkov concluded.