Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline is the key to export gas to Brazil

The first stage of the President Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline, which is being built to take advantage of Vaca Muerta gas, will extend 583 kilometers to Saliqueló, in the province of Buenos Aires, with an initial transport capacity of 11 million m3 per day, which with the compression plants could reach up to 22 million.


The works for the first two stages of the work extend over 440 km. In total there are four. 1 and 2 are carried out by the joint venture made up of Techint and Sacde, of Pampa Energía. The client is the state-owned Energía Argentina S.A. (ENARSA).


The kilometer zero of the gas pipeline starts in the Neuquén town of Tratayén and advances 30 kilometers through Neuquén. Then it transfers to Río Negro and continues another 30 km. About 40 km. from Catriel, at km. 60 of Route 151 is the first workshop: 300 meters from there passes the trace of the gas pipeline. In km. 90 crosses the Colorado River and then continues through La Pampa, where the second workshop is located, more precisely in the town of General Acha.


The large machines that are used weigh between 40 and 50 tons. They are larger equipment such as hoists, excavators and trenchers. Some are national and others brought from abroad. In total there are 272 pieces of equipment, in addition to 434 trucks and vehicles and 738 minor devices. For this part, 1,444 teams will need to be mobilized.


The contractors anticipate that at the end of December and the beginning of January they will have their employment peak, with 3,000 people working directly on the project, plus 8,000 indirectly until the end of March 2023 in services, gastronomy, hotels and transportation. Today some 1,500 people work in both lines: 700 in the camp at km. 60 and 800 in General Acha.


In each of the two camps there is a double joint plant, with three work stations for welding. The rionegrina is green and the pampas, yellow. These removable factories allow transforming a 12-meter pipe into another 24, which reduces time and costs. It will also allow fiber optics to pass through that path in the future. Once the long pipe of 24 is finished, it is collected and later it will be taken to the line (track) through which the gas pipeline will pass with special transfer equipment. These pipes arrive by truck to Río Negro and La Pampa from the town of Valentín Alsina, where Techint receives the Brazilian steel sheets, rolls them up and turns them into pipes. As detailed in the workshop, about 25 trucks arrive at each camp per day with four pipes of 12 meters each.


In addition to welding the huge pipes, progress is made with the movement of the ground for the construction of the runway, which allows opening a gap to later make the trench, transport the welded pipe and lower it. In the lowering of pipes, the pipe shops, special machines for this task, place sections of 1,000 meters of pipes in the trench.


The beginning of the trace began from north to south, from km. 440 towards the Colorado River, because in the west of La Pampa the geography is flat, the land more fertile and easier to move. As of today, 220 km have already been built of platform. The excavation of the trench in Tratayén only began in the last week of November. It is very hard, rocky soil and requires large and heavy equipment, such as the 70-ton trencher, which builds a trench 1.5 meters wide and 2.30 meters deep. To speed up the steps, there will be four teams of that tonnage working simultaneously. Thus, 2 kilometers of runway will be built per day per work front.


24-meter pipes were placed on the track next to the trench, to begin welding with state-of-the-art technology with automatic welding equipment imported from the United States.


In the long term, the construction of the gas pipeline between the cities of Mercedes and Cardales, in Buenos Aires territory, is planned. But, in addition, the expansion of the NEUBA II Gas Pipeline is planned, the reversal of the North Gas Pipeline that goes from San Jerónimo in Santa Fe to Tucumán, the expansion of different sections of the Central West Gas Pipeline on the Litoral and other branches that reach the AMBA.


The goal is to reach Brazil in the shortest time possible.


Carlos E. Alfaro

Managing Partner


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