The Government of Argentina, on Thursday, 21 April 2022, launched the tender for the construction of a major gas pipeline that will run from the Southwest province of Neuquén to the north of Buenos Aires, stretching over a distance of over 1000 kilometers.
Upon completion, the Nestor Kirchner Pipeline, also known as the Gasoducto Nestor Kirchner Pipeline, will be the largest natural gas project completed in the last four decades in Argentina.
According to energy experts, pipeline development could make Argentina a significant energy producer. It aims to transform the country's fuel transport capacity for export and domestic purposes.
The invasion of Russia on Ukraine has led to an increase in energy prices, hence the need for nations to seek alternative energy sources.
The tender will be launched next month, and a decision is due in July. The project's pilot stage will start in August this year and end in 2024 at the cost of $1.5 billion.
Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez applauded the start of the work to develop the natural gas pipeline during an official ceremony at the Complejo Loma Campana YPF site at the Vaca Muerta deposit in Neuquén province.
According to Alberto, the world has settled on natural gas in a bid to transition to renewable energies, hence the urgent need for the Nestor Kirchner pipeline.
Huge and Symbolic
The first phase of the natural gas pipeline would run from Tratayen in Neuquén Province to Salliquelo in Buenos Aires Province, a distance of 558 kilometers, increasing the gas supply by 22 million cubic meters per day.
And the second phase will extend a further 467 kilometers towards the Northern side to reach San Jeronimo and into the southern Santa Fe Province.
This phase will allow gas penetration to the major industrial and urban areas of Northern and Central Argentina, boosting the chances of exporting to Northern Chile and Brazil. Once completed, the new gas pipeline project will increase the country's gas supply by 40 million cubic meters per day.
Argentina's Energy Secretary, Dario Martinez, disclosed that the country started exporting natural gas to Chile last summer for the first time in one and half decades. According to Martinez, the main objective of the new gas pipeline is to replace all the liquefied natural gas imports and produce an exportable amount.
The development of the pipeline project represents a milestone in the efforts to achieve sovereignty as a lasting solution for gas supplies for the 2023 winter.
The existing system of gas pipelines in Argentina dates back over 40 years and gets saturated during the cold months, costing the country billions in imports. The construction of the new pipeline will begin in August to cut down the growing volumes of imports with higher gas production from Neuquén.