Petrobras Inaugurates 'Biggest Pipeline' in South America

Petrobras will inaugurate the Cabiúnas-Reduc III (Gasduc III) gas pipeline Wednesday, February 3. The event will be attended by the president of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. A GAP (Growth Acceleration Program) project, Gasduc III is the biggest gas pipeline in diameter in South America, at 38 inches (equivalent to 96.5 cm), and has the largest transportation capacity (40 million cubic meters per day) of all Brazilian gas pipelines. With these characteristics (diameter and capacity), it surpasses the Bolivia-Brazil Gas Pipeline (Gasbol), which measures 32 inches (81.3 cm) in diameter and can transport 30 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.

Gasduc III boosts both the supply flexibility and the transportation capacity to meet the needs of the Southeastern market, the region in Brazil that consumes the most natural gas. In addition to growing the supply to the non-thermal market, with Gasduc III it will be possible to meet the full natural gas supply needs of the Mario Lago (922 MW), Barbosa Lima Sobrinho (394 MW), Leonel Brizola (1,036 MW), and Norte Fluminense (869 MW) thermoelectric plants. Together, these plants have installed capacity to generate approximately 3,221 average MW, enough to provide power to 14 million people.

Strategically located between Macaé and Duque de Caxias (RJ), Gasduc III enhances the transportation capacity in this section from 16 million cubic meters per day to 40 million cubic meters per day. The gas pipeline can transport natural gas produced in the Campos and Espírito Santo basins; the gas imported from Bolivia, which arrives in the state of Rio de Janeiro over the Campinas-Rio and Japeri-Reduc gas pipelines; and the gas coming from the Guanabara Bay LNG (liquefied natural gas) Regasification Terminal. After the Caraguatatuba-Taubaté (GASTAU) gas pipeline has been completed, later on this year, Gasduc III will be able to receive gas coming from the Santos Basin.

A milestone in pipeline engineering

With a highly complex construction and ranging for 179 km, the Gasduc III construction work received investments in the order of R$2.54 billion and generated about 27,000 direct and indirect jobs. One of the main challenges was to build a tunnel, the first of its type in Brazil, to pass pipelines. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his entourage will visit the tunnel Wednesday (02/03).

Built under the Santana Mountain, in the municipality of Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ), in the São João River Basin/Golden Lion Tamarin Environmental Protection Area, the Gasduc III tunnel is 3,758 meters long, 6.2 meters in height and 7.2 meters wide. It is longer than the Rebouças tunnel, in Rio de Janeiro, which is 2,840 meters long.

The construction avoided vegetation suppression in an area of 125,400 square meters of Atlantic Forest and preserved the habitat of animals threatened of extinction, such as the Golden Lion Tamarin. Additionally, all of the material removed during the construction of the tunnel was used to recover areas that had already been degraded before the work began.

The Gasduc III trunk line cuts through eight Rio de Janeiro municipalities (Macaé, Rio das Ostras, Casimiro de Abreu, Silva Jardim, Cachoeiras de Macacu, Guapimirim, Magé, and Duque de Caxias), and through urban areas in a few of them. To build it, 73 rivers, creeks and other water bodies were crossed, two directional holes were made, and 56 roads, railways, and existing pipeline ranges crossed through.

The Campos Elíseos Compression Station (ECOMP), with capacity for 25 million cubic meters per day, was built at one of the tips of Gasduc III, in the city of Duque de Caxias. At the other tip, at the Cabiúnas Terminal, in Macaé, the existing ECOMP was enhanced and its capacity increased from 16 million cubic meters per day to 40 million cubic meters per day, rendering it Brazil’s biggest natural gas compression system. Petrobras also enhanced the safety system at the Cabiúnas Terminal fivefold.

With Gasduc III, Petrobras adds robustness to Brazil's natural gas transportation network, which in 2010 reaches 9,217 km in length, compared to 5,398 km in December 2002.

Integrated network

Gasduc III interconnects Brazil's main natural gas processing pole, the Cabiúnas Terminal, to natural gas Hub 2, in Duque de Caxias. A gas pipeline interconnection point, the Japeri-Reduc, Reduc-Volta Redonda (GASVOL), Reduc-Belo Horizonte (GASBEL) gas pipelines, and the connection gas pipeline to the LNG terminal in the Guanabara Bay, are also connected to Hub 2.

Hub 2 also has the Campos Elíseos Compression Station (ECOMP), the Delivery Points (DPs) to supply the Governador Leonel Brizola thermoelectric plant, Reduc's Compression Service (SCOMP), with capacity for 4 million cubic meters per day, and a set of interconnections to Reduc's natural gas processing system.

The alignments that exist at Hub 2 allow the transportation of natural gas coming from different sources, since the Gasduc III, Japeri-Reduc and Campinas-Rio gas pipelines are bidirectional. This characteristic translates into great flexibility to supply the Southeastern Region's market.