May 2019, Vol. 246, No. 5


Delayed Bahia Pipeline Underway in Brazil

By Mauro Nogarin, Contributing Editor

After five years of waiting, the state of Bahia began building the first section of the Gas Southwest pipeline, which will be one of the largest pipelines in the interior of Brazil. Most of the natural gas distribution network of 5,840 miles (9,400 km), is located on the coast.

Despite all the expectations regarding the pipeline, the country still has a scarce transportation network, which makes it difficult for more product to emerge, without the construction of more distribution networks.

Even with the entry of Gasene and the Brazil-Bolivia Gas Pipeline (Gasbol), the Brazilian network is still considered minimal when compared to other countries.

According to the business plan of Bahiagás, the company will invest $672 million in the next five years not only to expand natural gas distribution infrastructure, but also to develop new business modernization and expansion of the company’s facilities.

This project emerges as an important source of supply for residences and businesses and will help meet demand from the nation’s industrial region, which still uses diesel to feed machinery at small and medium operations.

In fact, the acquisition of diesel fuel accounts for 20% of the costs of the factories in Brazil. For this reason, the conversion to natural gas could represent a reduction of 30% to 40% in fuel costs for these companies.

With a total planned investment of $100 million, the Southwest Gas pipeline will extend 190 miles (306 km), becoming the second-largest in the country, connecting municipalities from Ipiaú to Brumado with its three phases.

In the first section, of 45 miles (72 km), which began construction in August 2018, $28.5 million is being invested to serve the municipalities of Ipiaú, Itagibá, Aiquara, Itagi and Jequié. Work on the second 53-mile (85-km) section will begin in July and involve an investment of $38 million and traverse Jequié, Lafaiete Coutinho, Maracás and Iramaia.

Finally, the third phase of the project, an 84-mile (135-km) section that will begin in September, includes a $75 million investment and will serve the municipalities of Iramaia, Barra da Estiva, Contes del Sincorá, Tanhaçu, Aracatu and Brumado.

The pipeline construction should be completed in 18 months with an in-service date expected in 2021. It will help satisfy demand for a market estimated to use 460,000 cm/d. Additionally, the pipeline will connect 40,000 new customers throughout the state of Bahia.

The project will have a fundamental role in supplying industries in the region, primarily those in the food and textile sectors, but also include the enormous demand potential from residential, commercial and automotive.

To complete the work, Bahiagás launched tenders for various services and four companies were contracted. The construction company affirms construction faces some challenges due to the topography of some areas along the route, including the presence of large amounts of rock. P&GJ


Project characteristics:

Pipeline length: 190 miles (306 km)

Construction duration: 18 months

Total investment: $100 million 

Length first section: 45 miles (72 km)

Length second section: 53 miles (85 km)

Length third section: 84-mile (135-km)

Source: Bahia Gas


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