December 2018, Vol. 245, No. 12


Cordillerano Pipeline Extension will be Delivered in March 2019

By Mauro Nogarin, Contributing Editor

Sustained increase in demand for natural gas in regions of Argentina has shut out new users, leading the nation’s Ministry of Energy to expedite work expanding the Patagonian System, the compressor plant in Rio Senger and the Las Armas compressor plant.

Preparation of 12-inch pipes in the area of Argentine Patagonia. (photo: Municipality of Esquel)

The work is highly anticipated in Bariloche and other nearby locations, where there are several thousand potential users who cannot connect to the natural gas network and its original gas pipeline, which is now 30 years old.

The extension work was scheduled more than five years ago but suffered several suspensions and delays due to budgetary issues, despite the complaints of the owners of new homes, shops and buildings that continue without service – feeding their gas heating with package systems or electricity.

The government re-tendered the work and in December, awarded to Contreras Hermanos S.A. company, which began working in March, with a budget of about $50 million. This includes the compressor plant in Rio Senguer, along with 62 miles (100 km) of reinforcing gas pipelines, running parallel to the current one.

22,500 users will benefit from the pipeline expansion. (photo: Municipality of Esquel)

When completed the project will benefit the entire mountain range of Chubut, Río Negro and Neuquén, and will allow inclusion of 22,500 new users. Half of the demand is coming from Bariloche and Dina Huapi, the most populated core of southern Neuquén, west of Río Negro and north of Chubut.

Although the Patagonian gas pipeline reaches the mountain range from the Atlantic Coast of Chubut, it carries the gas from the Cerro Dragón deposit, which would theoretically make the pipeline ready to enter service in the winter 2019. 

According to the construction project, all the insulating joints are monolithic and respond to the technical specifications of the distribution company. The cathodic protection of the buried pipelines involves heat-shrinkable blankets that comply with NAG 100 and NAG-108.

According to government sources work, which is underway in Pilcaniyeu, Villa La Angostura, Trevelin and Gobernador Costa is more than 40% complete.

The new 85-mile (136.2 km) gas pipeline consists of:

  • A 5.5-mile (9 km), 6-inch parallel gas pipeline to Gobernador Costa Compressor Plant 9
  • A 7-mile (11 km), 6-inch parallel gas pipeline parallel to Leleque
  • Reinforcement of the 2-mile (3.2 km), 12-inch supply branch to Bariloche
  • Reinforcement of the 2.2 mile (3.5 km), 8-inch supply branch to San Martin de los Andes
  • Reinforcement of 15-mile (24 km) of separate 6-inch feeding branches 
  • A 12-mile (19.5-km) pipeline parallel to the Pilcaniyeu-Bariloche gas pipeline 
  • 16-mile (26-km), 10-inch gas pipeline parallel to the pipeline to San Martin de los Andes 
  • A 25-mile (40-km), 12 inches gas pipeline parallel to the Cordillerano gas pipeline. P&GJ

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