The expansion of the Oleoducto del Valle will allow exports of up to US$6.5 billion per year

The expansion of the Oleoducto del Valle will allow exports of up to US$6.5 billion per year

The Valle pipeline runs from Vaca Muerta-Bahía Blanca.

The extension of the concession of the Oleoducto del Valle (Oldelval) that has just been announced by the Minister of the Economy, Sergio Massa, will make it possible to unlock expansion investments to increase the export of oil from Vaca Muerta between 180,000 and 250,000 barrels/day, equivalent to US$4,000 and US$6,500 million per year.

The announcement of the start-up of the doubling of the Vaca Muerta Valley-Bahía Blanca oil pipeline capacity was one of those made recently by Massa in the city of Neuquén, when visiting the Argentina Oil & Gas exhibition together with the Secretary of Energy, Flavia Royón.

Oldelval is the company that operates in the midstream segment (distribution) in the Neuquén Basin, and transports liquid hydrocarbons through an integrated network of more than 1,700 kilometers of pipelines that cross four provinces: Neuquén, Río Negro, La Pampa and Buenos Aires.

The company’s corporate structure is made up of YPF (37%), ExxonMobil (21%), Chevron (14.5%), Pan American Energy (11.9%), Pluspetrol (11.9%), Tecpetrol (2 .1%) and Pampa Energia (2.1%)that is, several of the main oil companies operating the Vaca Muerta unconventional formation

The pipeline is the one that allows transporting 100% of the oil from Vaca Muerta, which represents 90% of the oil from the Neuquén Basin and more than 50% at the national level.

The extension of the concession that expires in 2028 will unlock long-term investments and develop the potential of Vaca Muerta,

In this way, the company ensures that with the planned works the country can increase its oil exports between 180,000 and 250,000 barrels/day, equivalent to US$4,000 and US$6,500 million a year.

The official decision is to extend the concession for another ten years, as provided for in the current specifications, and to give continuity to the projects presented.

The increase in oil transport capacity is a necessity for the sector at a time when the production of unconventional oil and gas reached historical production records in Vaca Muerta in March, while the resulting crude oil from all the country’s basins It was the highest since 2011.

Neuquén projects that it could reach 308,000 barrels per day on average by the end of the year, and that by 2023 that figure would rise to 420,000 barrels, through works.

The investments and projects are based on two strategic axes oriented towards short-term works to expand capacity for some US$750 million, and to continue with the renovation of the comprehensive pipeline system for another US$900 million over the next few years. next 15 years, that is, a total of US$ 1,650 million by 2037.

The purpose of the expansion work is to permanently increase Oldelval’s transportation capacity to accompany the production growth of the Neuquén Basin and the country, from Allen to Puerto Rosales.

This It will allow the transport of crude oil to be increased from the current 36,000 m3/day to 72,000 m3/day, that is, about 452,800 barrels of oil per day.

The execution of the work contemplates the laying of 455 km of 24” pipeline in different sections of the pipeline between the Allen pumping station and the saltpeter pumping station, a 70 km change in the route of the Bahía Blanca area and the repowering of four pumping stations. .

A) Yes, in a first stage of work of 11 months it will be possible to go to 55,000 m3/dayfor a second stage for another 11 months of work to reach the projected 72,000 m3/day.

Of the US$ 750 million investment by Oldelval, 90% corresponds to labor, supplies and equipment produced locally, and will require more than 6 million man-hours, which will involve the hiring of approximately 1,200 people directly. .

For this, the midstream company has already advanced with the engineering, hiring of personnel and purchase of critical materials to be able to start the work as soon as the concession is extended.

The works will be financed through the sale to the market of the future new transport and storage capacity, in firm contracts for terms of 10 or 15 years.

Oldelval began operations in April 1993 with an operating concession for 35 years, with an option for another 10, and currently transports crude oil from the Neuquén Basin from its origin in Puesto Hernández to Puerto Rosales in the Bahía Blanca complex, for local distribution and shipping abroad.

The signature also supplies the Plaza Huincul refineries in Neuquén and the Luján de Cuyo refinery in Mendozaand although its majority shareholder is YPF, Pluspetrol, Chevron, Exxon, Pampa Energía, PAE and Tecpetrol participate in its composition.

In April, Oldelval completed the works that allowed it to increase its oil transport capacity by 25% to 42,000 cubic meters per day, for which made an investment of US$ 50 million, through the so-called “Vivaldi Plan”.

The operation of the pipeline also contemplates a large storage and dispatch sector in charge of Oiltanking Ebytem -of which YPF owns 30%- close to Puerto Rosales, with two monobuoys identified as Punta Ancla and Punta Cigüeña, points repaired offshore at depths of 60 feet for anchoring large oil tankers.

The expansion of the pipeline and the possibility of bringing larger volumes of liquids from Vaca Muerta also forces us to think about increasing that storage capacity by an additional third of the current one and installing a third monobuoy.

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