November 2017, Vol. 244, No. 11


A New Era for Argentine Gas Pipelines

By Mauro Nogarin, Latin America Correspondent

The construction of the 932-mile (1,500-km) Argentine Northeastern Gas Pipeline (GNEA) is designed to transport greater volumes of gas from Bolivia to parts of Argentina where about 40% of the population living in the provinces is still forced to use bottled gas.

For this reason, one of the priorities of the new government calls  for the construction of three important gas infrastructure projects. “Expansion of the Natural Gas Transportation and Distribution System,” will, by the end of 2018, allow natural gas to be delivered to 140,500 homes, in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Chubut, Río Negro and Santa Fe, with an investment of $248.5 million.

The projects are: Extension of the Cordillerano Patagónico Gas Pipeline, the Coastal Gas Pipeline and the Regional Gas Pipeline Center II. These  had been promised by the previous administration and many of them had agreements signed but were not yet implemented. The work is of vital importance since the gas transport and distribution systems in these areas are currently operating at capacity.

The Regional Gas Pipeline Center II, which will be connected to the Argentine Northeast Gas Pipeline (GNEA), is designed to expand the capacity of the Regional Gas Pipeline Center, which is at 100% capacity. It will provide gas supply to 34,000 additional users in the cities of Rafaela and Sunchales.

About 3 MMcf/d are destined for the industrial activities of small and medium enterprises. The sub-distributor Sapem will also receive 4 MMcf/d for residential service, totaling 7 MMcf/d for the city. The project is budgeted at $75 million with an  estimated execution time of 12 months.

The project includes installation of 45 miles (72 km) of 12-inch pipeline and 29 miles (47 km) of 10-inch pipe with their respective launch and scraper reception traps, and two 40/10 bar ERP units located in the cities of Rafaela and Sanchales.

The Costa gas pipeline will expand the capacity of the Costa and the Tandil-Mar del Plata Gas Pipeline to meet the demand of an additional 84,500 users. On the Gas Pipeline de la Costa, the reinforcement will be carried out with the installation of a new compressor plant of 2,400 hp.

The El Chourrón plant will only compress the Mar del Plata-Tandil gas pipeline. Reinforcements will be carried out on branches to Balcarce in addition to interconnecting pressure-reducing stations in La Invernada and El Techo which feed the city of Mar del Plata. Cost of the project is $73.5 million with an estimated execution time of 12 months.

From a technical standpoint, the project includes the installation of an 11-mile (18-km) reinforcement loop of 20-inch pipe over the La Costa Gas Pipeline in the El Chourrón-Las Armas section, and a 13-mile (21-km)  reinforcement loop of 8-inch pipe to Balcarce.

Finally, the expansion of the Cordillera-Patagonia gas pipeline, which supplies natural gas to localities in three provinces like Neuquén, Rio Negro and Chubut, reaching 25 population centers in the area. However, due to the sustained growth in the demand for natural gas distribution service through networks, this system is operating at full capacity, so it does not currently have availability for the incorporation of new consumption without the execution of these infrastructure works.

The objective of the project is to expand capacity of the system to meet the demand generated by 22,000 additional users in different locations in its layout in addition to the new industrial parks that are now in the final phase of construction. The project is expected to cost $100 million with an estimated execution time of 18 months.

The work consists of installing a compressor station in the town of Rio Senger with a capacity of 3,000 hp. Most of the work involves installation of gas pipelines 5.5 miles (9 km) of 16 inches, 37 miles (60 km) of 12 inches, 16 miles (26 km) of 10 inches and 23 miles (38 km) of 6 inches.

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