Construction of pipeline (2008)
|From||Dzuarikau, North Ossetia|
|To||Tskhinvali, South Ossetia|
|Length||162.3 km (100.8 mi)|
|Maximum discharge||252.5 million cubic meters per year|
The Dzuarikau–Tskhinvali pipeline is a natural gas pipeline running from the village of Dzuarikau in North Ossetia to Tskhinvali, South Ossetia. Construction started in 2006, and gas supplies were expected to start in September, 2009.
Most of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used in the South Ossetia region is supplied by Russia. The gas is supplied through the Tskhinvali gas lateral and the Tbilisi - Kutaisi gas trunkline, which pass through the territory of Georgia. South Ossetia has been affected by conflicts with Georgia since the late 1980s, as the latter considers South Ossetia to be part of its territory. The conflicts have led to the destruction of infrastructure in South Ossetia and also affected the region's development. Georgia has even made attempts to block fuel supplies to the region on the back of these conflicts. The need for a dedicated pipeline to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to South Ossetia became evident due to these conflicts. The harsh climatic conditions, such as mountainous areas, snowdrifts, avalanches, rockfalls and mountain creeps, made it difficult to construct a new pipeline. Gas supplies could only be assured if a pipeline was built through Georgia. Building a pipeline through Georgia, however, posed a high risk due to geopolitical reasons. Construction of a pipeline over the mountainous region of Great Caucasus was the only viable option to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to South Ossetia. The Dzuarikau - Tskhinvali pipeline was, therefore, proposed despite the harsh climatic conditions. South Ossetia has signed a 20-year agreement with Gazprom for gas supplies. In the long-term, the pipeline is expected to improve the living conditions of the people in the region and have a positive environmental impact with the reduction in use of fossil fuels. Gazprom was also involved in reconstruction of several gas supply facilities destroyed by the Georgian-Ossetian conflict in August 2008. Gas supplies to the region, which were cut off due to the conflict, resumed in January 2009.
Construction and infrastructure
Construction of the pipeline commenced in 2006. Several ecologists initially opposed the construction, fearing that it could damage the ecology of the region. Gazprom, however, assured that several studies and surveys were carried out by ecologists and geologists to ensure minimal effect on the environment. Several sections of the pipeline were welded and laid into trenches one and half metres deep. Construction was carried out in harsh geological and climatic conditions. Several areas of the region are affected by intense seismic activities, with tectonic faults stretching from two kilometres to 15km in length. Hazardous areas affected by landslides, mudflows and avalanches stretch for several metres in the region.
Design of the high altitude pipeline
The pipeline has a diameter of 412mm and is designed to be used for 150 years of operation. About half of the pipeline route (75.4km) runs through the mountainous region of the Great Caucasus which is located more than 1,500m above sea level. The pipeline route includes 15 tunnels spanning 1,848m and 29 water crosses. It spans five mountain ridges reaching a height of 3,148m at the Kudar Pass in South Ossetia. A fibre-optic communication line is built parallel to the main line of the project.
The pipeline was said to be important for the de facto independence of South Ossetia, because it "shakes off the last levers exerted by its unfriendly neighbour." The Georgian foreign ministry has strongly protested against the launch of the new pipeline.
- "Russia to begin gas supplies to S.Ossetia bypassing Georgia". RIA Novosti. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- Artem Gorbunov (2009-04-09). "Tbilisi loses its levers over Tskhinvali". Georgia Times. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "New gas pipeline for S.Ossetia costs $476 mln - Gazprom". RIA Novosti. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "Tbilisi States Dzuarikau-Tskhinvali gas line is infringment Georgian Sovereignty". The Georgian Times. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2009-08-30.