Pieter Schelte Loses Pipelaying Gig

Sea trials. Photo courtesy Allseas
The Pieter Schelte during sea trials. Photo courtesy Allseas

The giant Pieter Schelte pipeline installation/rig decommissioning ship has lost its 2015 summer job laying pipe for the $40 billion-euro South Stream pipeline after plans for the project fell through.

The pipeline would have transported Russian gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria before passing through Serbia and Hungary into Austria, Reuters reports. Russia announced the cancellation of the project on Monday. Its cancellation has been blamed on stalling European demand for gas, plummeting oil prices, and opposition from the European Commission.

In a statement to the website Offshore Energy Today, Swiss-based Allseas Group, owner of the soon-to-be completed Pieter Schelte, commented: “The loss of the South Stream line 2 contract is unfortunate and means that Allseas will now start searching for new work for that period.”

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Allseas was awarded the contract in April to lay almost 900 km of offshore pipe across the Black Sea for “Line 2” of the South Stream pipeline using the new Pieter Schelte. Work was expected to commence in the summer of 2015.

The Italian company Saipem was awarded the contract for “Line 1”, as well as some additional engineering work on all four pipelines of the project. Reuters reported Tuesday that shares of Saipem tumbled 10.8 percent after the project was scrapped.

Construction of the Pieter Schelte was recently completed at the DSME shipyard in South Korea and the vessel is currently en-route to Rotterdam, where the final phases of construction will take place. At 382 meters long and 124 meters wide, the dynamically positioned Pieter Schelte will the world’s largest pipeline installation ship, but its primary use will be to remove the steel topsides and jackets of decommissioned rigs in the North Sea. The vessel will have a lifting capacity of up to 48,000 tonnes.

Pieter Schelte’s first contract will be to remove the topsides and jackets of at least three platforms in the Brent field, located on the UK Continental Shelf in the North Sea, for Shell. That work is expected to commence in the summer of 2015.