2012 Pipeline Construction Report

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | January 2012, Vol. 67 No. 1

Underground Construction and Pipeline & Gas Journal’s worldwide pipeline survey figures indicate that 118,623 miles of pipelines are planned and under construction. Of these, 88,976 represent projects in the planning and design phase; 29,647 miles reflect pipelines in various stages of construction. Almost 32,000 miles of pipeline are currently being planned for North America.

Natural gas pipelines again account for the majority of projects under construction and planned.

Supporting this is a GlobalData report that indicates approximately 75 percent of the total global planned pipeline additions during 2011-15 will be gas. The report says the Asia Pacific region should be responsible for 41.8 percent of total planned pipeline additions with China and India being the frontrunners.

New and planned construction projects for the world’s seven basic country groups include: North America – 31,951; South/Central America and Caribbean – 11,571; Africa – 7,617; Asia Pacific 34,295; Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – 19,537; Middle East – 11,480; and Western Europe and European Union – 2,172. (For more detailed information on these and other pipeline projects, see Underground Construction’s sister publication, Pipeline News.

North America
Nothing has changed the outlook for the North American energy industry quite like the discoveries in the shale regions in the U.S. and Canada. North America - which accounts for 26,300 miles in the planning stages and 5,651 miles under construction - should remain strong.
Those building pipelines in shale regions can expect higher costs. Ziff Energy Group reports pipeline owners are seeing higher construction costs in the shale regions of Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Barnett, Woodford, Fayetteville and Horn River.

After analyzing costs of 120 pipelines from the past decade, Ziff Energy Group’s results show the average estimated shale gas pipeline rose in 2011 to almost $200,000/inch-mile (the cost per pipeline diameter inch per mile), three times higher than 2004.

“All North America geographical regions appear to experience consistently higher pipeline costs than prior years,” commented Julia Sagidova, gas analyst and lead author of the report. “The Marcellus shale gas region (Pennsylvania) is the most expensive with an average cost of under $300,000/inch-mile. These large-diameter (24 to 36 inches) projects are typically 120 miles in length and cost $500 million.”