World-Wide Pipeline Construction Plans Remain Strong

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | November 2011, Vol. 66 No. 11

While Kazakhstan is hampered by the lack of access to a seaport, which makes the country dependent mainly on pipelines to transport its hydrocarbons to world markets, it is also a transit state for pipeline exports from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Neighbors China and Russia are key economic partners, providing sources of export demand and government project financing. For this reason, Kazakhstan could see considerable pipeline construction in coming years.

Kazakhstan accounts for several projects, including the $5.4 billion expansion of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium’s Caspian Pipeline. The capacity of the 932-mile pipeline, which carries crude from western Kazakhstan to a dedicated terminal in the Black Sea, will increase to 1.4 MMbpd from 730,000 bpd.

In Turkmenistan, construction continues on the $2 billion East-West pipeline that will connect all major gas fields there to one network. Two state corporations – Turkmengaz and Turkmen Oil and Gas Construction – are developing the project. The 620-mile, 56-inch pipeline will have a capacity of 30 Bcm/a.

Awaiting a construction start is the US$21.5 billion South Stream pipeline which will transport up to 63 Bcm/a of gas to 10 consumer countries in the EU that is being developed by Italy's Eni and Gazprom. French EdF and Germany's Wintershall will also participate in the project. Russia now plans to launch the pipeline in 2015.

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.

The Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company is planning to invest $US6 billion for 1,677 miles of high-pressure gas pipelines and 19 compression facilities in the next two years. Plans call for construction of the 335-mile Tran-Iranian gas pipeline from Iranshahr to Zahedan and another to the Pakistan border; a 373-mile pipeline from the Dehgolan region to Ahmaz; and a 56-mile line to Chabahar in the southeast.