World’s longest pipelines: Natural gas

February 22, 2019

Oil and gas pipelines, one of the most economical modes of transport of crude oil and natural gas, are getting longer as resources slowly lessen and countries grow more reliant on imports from a range of fields and prospects around the world.

From Canada to China, pipelines provide excellent means of export for countries with an access to a wealth of raw oil and natural gas, and an economical way for trade to take place. 




West-East Gas Pipeline: 8,707km

The West-East Gas Pipeline is operated by PetroChina, with a  72.26% interest in PetroChina Pipelines. With a total of 8,707km, it tops the list of the world’s longest pipelines. It includes a main trunkline (phase I) which eight branches. Phase I connects the Tarim Basin gas fields in Xianjing to China’s biggest city, Shanghai, stretching 4,000km. The pipeline passes through no fewer than 66 cities in ten provinces, and the gas is used for electricity production in the Yangtze River Delta.

The West-East Gas Pipeline originally had the capacity to hold 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. In 2007 the pipeline was expanded to 17 billion cubic metres. Including ten new gas compressor stations built to support the extra gas. The total CAPEX of the project at the time was estimated to be $5.7bn.

Phases II and III of the pipeline both stem from the main pipeline, spreading from Xianjing in several different directions. The capacity of the second phase pipeline is 30 billion cubic metres of gas per year and cost the company $20bn, while phase III can hold another 30 billion cubic metres annually. This makes it both the longest pipeline project and one of the largest in terms of capacity.

GASUN, Brazil: 4,989km

Still under development and debated by industry professionals and operators, the National Unification Gas Pipeline (GASUN) connects the Gasbol pipeline in Bolivia with the northern Amazon and northeast Brazilian states. With a total length of almost 5,000km, the first stage of the pipeline stretches 2,260km from Mato Grosso do Sul in central Brazil to the state of Maranhão, passing through the capital Brasilia. Construction began in 2006 and was completed in 2007.

The Gasbol pipeline connects Bolivia’s reserves in the Rio Grande region to Porto Alegre on Brazil’s southeast coast, stretching 3,150km across two pipelines, with a maximum capacity of 11 billion cubic metres of natural gas. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2026 at a cost of $2.48bn.

In August 2018, five Brazilian companies expressed their interest in purchasing 10 million cubic metres of gas per day from 2020 onwards.

Yamal-Europe Pipeline: 4,196km

The Yamal-Europe pipeline connects the natural gas reserves of Western Siberia in Russia to Austria, stretching 4,196km across Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Slovakia. Yamal II redirects from Belarus through Poland to Austria.

With a diameter of 142cm, Yamal-Europe is considered the world’s widest pipeline, able to carry 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas through 14 compressor stations. The majority of the pipeline, which runs through Russia, is owned by national energy giant Gazprom.

Yamal II, which runs through Poland, is operated by EuRoPol Gaz, a joint venture between Polish PGNiG and Gazprom, each holding a 48% stake. The remaining 4% is owned by the Polish Gas-Trading company.

There have been plans to build a second branch of the pipeline in the last decade, with Russia investing approximately $5bn in 2013. This could lead to completion of the second leg as early as 2020. 

Trans-Saharan Pipeline: 4,127km

Still in the development stages, the Trans-Saharan pipeline is planned to stretch 4,127km from the gas-rich lands offshore and onshore Nigeria to the Hassi R’Mel gas fields in Northern Algeria. From there, it splits into the three separate pipelines which will transport the natural gas to the European market.

The Trans Saharan Gas project pipeline, also known as Trans-African gas pipeline, in which Trans Saharan Natural Gas Consortium is the operator,  is scheduled to start operation by 2021/2022. The gas pipeline in Africa has a total capex of US$12bn. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) holds a share of 45 per cent in the gas pipeline, with the Republic of Niger and Sonatrach SPA holding 10 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

The onshore Trans Saharan Gas project pipeline (NIGAL pipeline) is the longest planned gas pipeline in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), according to GlobalData in its analysis of oil and gas pipelines in the region in 2018.

Upon completion, the pipeline will transport 30 billion cubic metres of gas across the Sahara desert. 

The idea for the Trans Saharan Gas project pipeline was developed with an aim to make the natural gas transportation in Africa easier and more profitable. Africa is a global hub for producing liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude oil and other petroleum products and the African governments are taking initiative to ensure an easy supply of these petroleum products in the continent to support economic development in the region. Several international companies are showing growing interest to invest in Africa’s oil and gas projects, including BP, Italy’s Eni, France’s Total, Baker Hughes, along with the governments and regional oil and gas companies in Africa.

Mentor IMC Group have previously, and continues, to be involved in pipeline projects around the world. To check out some of our current pipeline positions take a look at the opportunities page on our website and make sure you send us your CV!

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