North American, International Pipeline Construction Remains Strong

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | November 2009 Vol. 64 No. 11

As to the outlook for North American construction in 2009, the EIA report finds that the inventory of proposed pipeline projects reflects a potential addition of about 35.4 Bcf/d of natural gas pipeline capacity during 2009, about 19 percent less than 2008. While the completion of all these projects is remote, 2009 will likely be the second largest year for natural gas pipeline construction in this decade.

As to specific figures, North America currently accounts for a total of 32,890 miles of planned pipelines and 7,492 miles of pipelines in various stages of construction in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

International construction
On the international scene, Underground Construction’s latest figures indicate 25,433 miles of oil and gas pipelines in various stages of construction at this time. This year’s planned pipeline mileage totals 67,135, bringing construction and planned pipeline mileage in the international sector to 85,076.

With the demand for energy growing faster in the Asia Pacific region than anywhere else in the world, it is not surprising that the region also accounts for the highest number of new and planned pipeline projects, which currently total 36,133 miles. Of these, 26,848 miles represent projects in the engineering and design phase, while 9,295 miles account pipelines in various stages of construction.

Supporting strong growth in Asia Pacific energy consumption is the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook (IEO2009). According to the report, in 2008 the Asia Pacific region accounted for 87 percent of the world’s energy consumption growth. Although the region’s natural gas consumption was below average in 2008, Chinese consumption grew by 15.9 percent, and accounted for the largest incremental growth in world gas consumption.

Here are international construction and planned pipeline mileage totals by area: South and Central America and the Caribbean, 13,526; Asia Pacific, 36,133; Africa, 6,253; FSU and Eastern Europe, 18,797; Middle East, 6,232; Western Europe and European Union, 4,135.