2011 Worldwide Pipeline Construction Report

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | January 2011 Vol. 238 No. 1

Despite a global economic downturn, new oil and gas pipelines are being planned and built. P&GJ’s worldwide survey figures indicate 119,938 miles of pipelines are planned and under construction. Of these, 83,634 represent projects in the planning and design phase while 36,304 miles reflect pipelines in various stages of construction.

Construction Overview
Following is a breakdown identifying regions by levels of new and planned pipeline miles in seven basic country groupings in the report, (see area map): North America – 28,099; South/Central America – 9,869; Africa – 7,759 ; Asia Pacific Region – 41,525; Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – 18,896 ; Middle East – 9,345; and Western Europe and European Union - 4,445. For information on these and other pipeline projects, see P&GJ’s sister publication, Pipeline News.

North America
North American pipeline construction is expected to remain strong. Shifts in supply from traditional to unconventional sources are projected to continue to be the key driver of future pipeline construction.
The Natural Gas Pipeline and Storage Infrastructure Projections Through 2030 study, prepared for INGAA by ICF International, analyzes future natural gas infrastructure requirements under various market scenarios and anticipates a range of investments over the next 20 years, primarily to handle increased domestic production from unconventional shale basins and tight sands to the existing network. (P&GJ, Jan. 2010, Pg. 26)

The study finds the U.S. and Canada will need 28,900-61,600 miles of additional natural gas pipelines through 2030. New infrastructure will be needed throughout the U.S. and Canada and not just to move natural gas across long distances between regions. According to the study, all regions will need natural gas infrastructure to serve growing demand and/or shifts in demand. Even regions with mature production basins will continuously need additional development.

North America accounts for 19,260 miles of planned pipeline miles and 8,839 miles of pipelines under construction. More than 4,600 miles of the planned pipelines represent projects in Alaska and Canada. They include the 364-mile Beluga to Fairbanks (B2F) gas pipeline that calls for a 24-inch line extending from Cook Inlet to Delta Junction and a 12-inch line from Delta Junction to Fairbanks. The project will be a spur pipeline to a major Alaska natural gas pipeline, when one is built, to move gas into south-central Alaska markets, with a connection at Delta Junction or Glenmallen.

Although both of the Alaska natural gas pipeline projects planned by TransCanada and ExxonMobil and BP/Conoco Phillips (Denali) have held open seasons, neither is expected to begin service until around 2020.
Another project involves a 700-mile NGL pipeline planned in Texas by DCP Midstream. The route of the DCP Sandhill Pipeline runs from West Texas fractionation and storage sites along the Texas Gulf Coast including Mont Belvieu.