Enargas Considers San Martín II Gasline in Argentina



Argentine natural gas regulator Enargas is considering the construction of a US$600mn-700mn, 12 million cubic meter-a-day (Mm3/d) pipeline to bring gas from the south of the country to meet demand further north, Enargas head Fulvio Madaro announced on Tuesday.

The pipeline would start operations in 2006, according to Madaro, who was speaking at the Argentina Energy Forum in Buenos Aires.

The so-called San Martín II line would run a similar route to gas transport company TGS's existing San Martín line, which is presently being expanded The US$232mn expansion is on schedule and will add 2.9Mm3/d capacity on completion.

However, the 1.8Mm3/d expansion of the TGN system in the north of Argentina has been delayed by political complications with Bolivia arising from the uncertain outcome of that country's proposed hydrocarbons law. There have also been delays in some of the bidding processes and in the structure of the trust fund established to finance the US$146mn expansion.

The TGN expansion involves 220km of 30-inch diameter pipelines and 15km of 24-inch diameter pipes and should be complete before the southern hemisphere winter is out despite the delays, Madaro said. With the Lunlunta-Carrizal and Campo Duran-Pocitos transport and storage projects also in execution, Madaro predicted that Argentina would get the 4.6Mm3/d additional gas volumes it needs to get through the peak winter demand months.

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