Energy Pipeline Construction Remains Strong

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | November 2012, Vol. 67, No. 11

EU officials want a merger of two strategic pipeline projects – Nabucco and its smaller Italian rival ITGI – to secure gas supplies from Azerbaijan to Europe. Several options have been floated, including a two-phase construction sequence that would see gas transported to Greece and Italy in the first phase and creation of a spur from the main pipeline in the second phase that would follow Nabucco’s originally planned route to Austria.

South America, Central America
Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina have major pipeline projects under construction and planned.

A 530-mile ethanol pipeline is planned by Petrobras to link main ethanol-producing regions to consuming centers in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The pipeline will have a transport capacity of 21 MMcm/a.

Work is scheduled to start on the 2,575-mile Noreste Argentino Gas Pipeline (GNEA), to bring gas from Bolivia to Argentina. Argentina announced the first phase of construction will begin later this year to increase shipments of natural gas from Bolivia to 27.7 MMcf/d. The pipeline will cost an estimated $5 billion and will provide 3.4 million people in six provinces access to natural gas.

Venezuela remains a significant supplier of crude oil to the world market although no significant pipeline construction is reported. Still awaiting a construction is the $2.1 billion, 293-mile natural gas pipeline linking Venezuela’s Sucre and Anzoategui states and a second gas pipeline linking Venezuela to Argentina that will go through Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia. On the oil side, construction is expected to start in 2012-13 on the pipeline planned by state-owned PdVSA and Russian oil transporter Transneft for development of the Orinoco oil belt.

FSU, Eastern European Countries
The slowest projected energy growth among non-OECD regions is for non-OECD Europe and Eurasia, which includes Russia and the other former Soviet republics. Growth in energy use for the region totals 17 percent from 2007-2035 as its population declines and substantial gains in energy efficiency are achieved by replacing inefficient Soviet-era capital equipment.

Nevertheless, Russia and nations in the FSU and Eastern Europe hold promise for future oil and gas activity and several are constructing and planning extensive pipeline networks to reach Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

Middle East
Several major projects are slated in the Middle East where 3,201 miles of pipelines are in various stages of construction and 5,254 pipeline miles are in the planning and engineering phase.