Pipeline & Gas Journal’s 2010 International Pipeline Construction Report

Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal
By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | February 2010 Vol. 237 No. 2

P&GJ’s latest international survey indicates a much higher number of pipelines in the engineering and design phase vs. actual construction. This year’s figures show the international sector accounts for 90,624 miles of pipelines under construction and planned.

Of these, 24,260 miles represent pipelines in various stages of construction, while 66,364 miles account for planned projects.

Current figures show the number of pipeline under construction increased 6,391 miles over the past year, from 17,941 miles to 24,260. Conversely, over the same period, the number of planned pipelines decreased slightly, from 67,135 to 66,364 miles.

The increase in pipelines under construction is not particularly surprising, as most nations are expected to see energy consumption grow at rates anticipated prior to the recent economic downturn.

Construction Overview
P&GJ’s report highlights some of the major pipeline projects planned and under construction in the international sector at this time. Following is a breakdown identifying international areas by levels of new and planned pipeline miles in the six basic geopolitical groups used in this article (see accompanying map): Asia pacific Region. 45,987 miles; Caribbean, South and Central America, 15,869 miles; Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 13,545 miles; Middle East, 7,901 miles ; Africa, 6,016 miles; and Western Europe and European Union Countries, 1,165 miles. More information is provided in P&GJ’s sister publication Pipeline News.

Countries in the Asia Pacific region are engaged in a massive effort to control rising energy use while promoting rapid economic growth. Nevertheless, the region is on its way to becoming the world’s most significant oil and gas consumers with demand projected to grow 90% by 2030. Therefore it is not surprising that this area accounts for the most new and planned pipeline projects at this time, totaling 45,967 miles. Of these, 28,038 miles represent projects in the engineering and planning phase, while 17,949 miles account for pipelines in various stages of construction.

In addition to the new and planned pipelines in the region, pipelines are also being completed. On December 14, 2009, a four-nation project saw the first transnational gas pipeline to go into service in China.

At the inauguration ceremony of the Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline, held in the gas plant on the right bank of the Amu Darya River in Turkmenistan, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Uzbek President Islam Karimov turned on the flow of natural gas together.

The pipeline starts at the Turkmenistan-Uzbek border city Gedaim and runs through central Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan before reaching Horgos in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region. The pipeline has dual lines in parallel, each running for 1,140 miles. Construction of the Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline commenced in July, 2008 and Line “A” became operational in December 2009. Line “B” is expected to be operational by the end of September, 2010. A delivery capacity of 30 Bcm/a will be reached by the end of 2011.