PDVSA to Receive ICO Pipeline Bids Jan. 19

Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA plans to receive offers January 19 for a contract to build the first stage of the east-west interconnection gas pipeline (ICO), project coordinator Richard Tahan told BNamericas.

PDVSA sold 28 packages of bid rules to local and international companies, including Sweden's Skanska and US-based Williams Group, by the early-January deadline, Tahan said.

PDVSA will open economic bids of qualified companies in February and award the contract the same month. Work will get underway in March-April and operations are scheduled to start by January 2005.

The first stage of the project will transport some 40-100 million cubic feet of gas a day (mcf/d) about 70km from Falcon state gas fields to the Paraguana refining complex (CRP), Tahan said. Investment in the first stage of the project will be about US$67mn, with some US$403mn to follow in the second stage, which will add an additional 230km of pipeline to interconnect Falcon state with PDVSA's eastern transport system. Three new compression plants will also be added to increase the total transport capacity in the east by some 520mcf/d, Tahan said.

PDVSA will call for bids on the second stage of the project in the second half this year, Tahan said. Construction will be carried out in 2005-2006 and operations will start up in December 2006-February 2007. A web site about the project is being prepared and will be launched in 2-3 weeks, Tahan added.

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