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Complex dredging project in the Caspian Sea

  • 72 kilometres dredged
  • 32 sand deposits created, 16 of which form islands
  • Remote area in the Caspian Sea

Kazakhstan is among the top 15 countries in the world when it comes to essential oil reserves. At the Tengiz field, one of the country’s largest reserves, new facilities are being constructed. The modules for these new plants need to be transported by sea, but the water was not deep enough for vessels carrying large objects to reach the shore. Van Oord has dredged a 72-kilometre channel that is deep enough to provide access to a cargo offloading facility near the construction site.

Working in a remote area

The Prorva region is very remote, with very little infrastructure and amenities. Due to the harsh winters, dredging was only possible between April and October. This added a natural deadline to the logistical puzzle. Four cutter suction dredgers, including the Ural River and Mangystau, worked in formation to complete the enormous job, assisted by more than 30 support vessels.

The remoteness of the region was challenging, and I am proud of our people’s perseverance and professionalism in making this project a success.

Govert van Oord, Area Director Europe.
Govert van Oord, Area Director Europe.

Preserving wildlife

The dredging area 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.

Purpose-built floating workshop barge

To provide for repairs and maintenance of the support vessels, we designed and built a floating workshop barge complete with ship lift facility, hydraulic crane and on-board workshop. Having this workshop barge on-site eliminated the need to transport vessels to the nearest port for repairs, which saved a considerable amount of time.

Contributing to Kazakhstan’s growth opportunities

With more than 150 oil fields, Kazakhstan has become an important link between Russia, China and Europe. The country 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. Read more about this project in our online magazine.

Additional information
  • Start date
    October 2014
  • Location
    Prorva, Kazakhstan
  • Business Unit
    Dredging