Engineering tender launched for Vaca Muerta gas pipeline phase 2

Bnamericas Published: Friday, September 02, 2022

Argentine state energy company Energía Argentina is advancing the planned second phase of the Vaca Muerta gas pipeline megaproject.

The firm launched a tender for a front-end engineering design contract, with bids due October 13, according to a notice in the official gazette. 

Energía Argentina officials are still, in parallel, finalizing several tender processes associated with the publicly funded first phase, which the government wants built and operational within a year.  

The first phase involves pipeline construction work between Tratayén in Neuquén province and Salliqueló in the province of Buenos Aires (558km). Ancillary projects are included, among them construction of the Mercedes-Cardales duct (73km), in Buenos Aires province. This would link Argentina’s northern and southern gas systems. 

The second phase – which may need private investment to advance – would involve laying pipeline between Salliqueló and San Jerónimo in Santa Fe province (484km), among other elements.

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Gas infrastructure work would support growth in production at the Vaca Muerta formation, which, in turn, would substitute expensive winter imports and support expansion of gas exports. 

LNG projects are being mulled. US LNG logistics firm Excelerate Energy and Argentine midstream gas player TGS are designing a modular liquefaction project with floating storage. Initial capacity would be 4-8Mm3/d, eventually rising to 16Mm3/d.

In parallel, national oil company YPF and Malaysian counterpart Petronas signed a joint studies and development agreement on a planned multibillion dollar LNG project, encompassing upstream production, pipelines, liquefaction and trade logistics. The national oil firms are partners at the 1Mm3/d La Amarga Chica gas block in Vaca Muerta.

Obtaining a steady and secure gas supply is seen as one of various steps needed to unlock investment in LNG infrastructure. 

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