After the process of political decisions and administrative issues of all major works, the Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline, which will considerably increase the gas transport capacity from Vaca Muerta, will begin to materialize in the territory. This week the first pipes transported in trucks will travel to the construction area: there are 80 kilometers of 30-inch pipes that will be used for a very important complementary work. The reference is for the Mercedes-Cardales gas pipeline, which is 73 kilometers long.
The head of Energía Argentina (former Enarsa), Agustín Geréz, has been following the evolution of the works and the route of the material. These pipes have a peculiarity: they were stored in a fiscal warehouse in Ensenada and Campana, where the government of Mauricio Macri left them after discontinuing works to expand the gas line. To see if the material was useful, Technical Integrity Studies were carried out and they are ready to be placed on the trace.
The goal of the Presidente Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline is to expand the capacity of the current transportation system and take the fluid from Vaca Muerta to the large consumption centers of our country. The first section of the work will connect the cities of Treatyén (Neuquén) with Salliqueló (Buenos Aires) and will cross the provinces of Rio Negro and La Pampa. In its Stage II, the pipeline will cover the section between Salliqueló to San Jerónimo (Santa Fe) and will increase the transport capacity of the main gas pipelines in our country by 25 percent. According to details handled by Energía Argentina, once the ditch is in place to lay the pipes, progress will be made with 6 kilometers per day.
In this way, according to the times that Energy Argentina manages, at the end of October the main work will begin and on June 20, 2023 the pipeline will be ready to function, that is, with the capacity to transport gas. Then the final issues will be polished to finish the work in November of next year. The activation in June is central for Argentina because it will help the country reduce spending on gas imports, which was the hardest problem that the coffers of the Central Bank (BCRA) had this year. In fact, savings from import substitution are expected to exceed $2 billion.
The work involves 6,500 workers directly and more than 20,000 indirectly. It is also calculated that in the stage of the main work that the firm Techint will carry out, a truck will leave its plant in Valentín Alsina every seven minutes. Those pipes are 12 meters and 36 inches.
For the Government, the work is central for different reasons. The first is that the search to reduce the impact of energy imports. In parallel, the start of the works is generating strong investments from oil companies that see transportation as a possibility of higher sales. The third factor that they read from Energía Argentina is that this work comes at a complex global moment where the war in Ukraine changed world relations due to energy resources. There is a price and supply crisis that Argentina can take advantage of by exploiting its potential in unconventional hydrocarbons.
To date, Argentina is the second largest shale gas reserve on the planet, behind China. The United States, which in the 1980s discovered and began to exploit its unconventional, is today the fifth reserve. But the path of that country shows that from 2008 to 2016 it not only achieved self-sufficiency but also became a strong export player.