Argentina launches Vaca Muerta pipeline megaproject tender

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Argentina launches Vaca Muerta pipeline megaproject tender

Argentine state energy company IEASA launched a tendering process for the acquisition of 656km of pipes for the Vaca Muerta natural gas pipeline megaproject.

The tender corresponds to first-phase work, with the chief element a 558km duct between Tratayén in Neuquén province and Salliqueló in the province of Buenos Aires.

Argentina plans to tackle the overall project – the Presidente Néstor Kirchner natural gas pipeline – in two phases, with the first financed using public funds and sporting a price tag of around US$1.6bn.

Bids for the duct provision contract are due March 31, according to a resolution published in the official gazette.

The overall project – which involves a central duct and ancillary elements, including expansion and flow reversal work – is chiefly designed to ease a dispatch bottleneck at the Neuquina basin to support an increase in production that would, in turn, replace costly winter LNG and liquid fuels imports and ease pressure on foreign reserves. 

The administration of President Alberto Fernández recently granted a 35-year transport concession to IEASA. The company, either directly or via third parties, is authorized to build, maintain and operate the central duct. It can also cede, partially or fully, its interests in the concession to state oil and gas firm YPF, which would require the green light from the federal energy department. 

The administration of former president Mauricio Macri had tried to advance the tender process for the first phase in 2019, but plans were halted amid macroeconomic challenges that still persist. Fernández had scrapped the project in early 2021, saying that alternatives would be sought. 

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  • Company: UCSA
  • UCSA is an Argentine engineering firm that is involved in civil works, railways, gas pipelines, the electricity sector, highways and sanitation networks. The company participate...