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Van Oord creates 72-kilometres access channel in Caspian Sea

21 December 2017
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Van Oord recently finished local dredging operations on a 72-kilometres long channel in the Caspian Sea. With this milestone, four years of dredging at an extremely remote location have been concluded. Van Oord built the new channel to allow for transportation of construction modules to the Tengiz oil field, where new facilities are being erected to increase the production capacity.

Kazakhstan is among the top 15 countries in the world when it comes to essential oil reserves. The country has over 150 oil fields, of which the Tengiz field is one of the largest. It has developed into an important link between Russia, China, and Europe and is reinforcing this position by expanding its oil and gas industry. The new channel is an important part of new infrastructure being created to facilitate this growth.
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Marine ingenuity

The remoteness of the location required resourceful measures during project execution. Due to the harsh winters, dredging was only possible between April and October. Furthermore, the region’s limited infrastructure and facilities made logistics unusually complex.

Four cutter suction dredgers, including the Ural River and Mangystau, have worked in formation to get the job done, assisted by more than 30 support vessels. To allow for in-situ repairs and maintenance of the support vessels, Van Oord designed and built a floating workshop barge complete with ship lift facility, hydraulic crane and on-board workshop.

Preserving wildlife

The area where dredging took place is home to various endangered species, such as birds and seals. Van Oord closely cooperated with independent wildlife observers in order to protect the local flora and fauna. In addition, 32 sand deposit sites were created alongside the access channel, 16 of which form islands to which animals are already finding their way to rest and breed.
Contributing to growth opportunities

Van Oord is proud to be playing a significant role in helping expand Kazakhstan’s economic growth opportunities. ‘The remoteness of the region was challenging, and I am proud of our people’s perseverance and professionalism in making this project a success’, said Govert van Oord, Area Director Europe.

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