Twelve 12 years ago, Transnet, the South African state-owned logistics company, was constructing a new, $1.5Billion, 715 kilometre long, multiproduct pipeline (MPP) to transport petrol, diesel and jet fuel from Durban, on the coast of the Indian Ocean, to Gauteng, in the north of the country, to replace the ageing Durban-to-Johannesburg fuel pipeline. The network, expected to have a life cycle spanning more than 70 years, was designed for a capacity of 1,000 cubic metres per hour (m3/h) when brought on stream, and could be scaled up to 3,000 m3/h through the addition of new pumpstations.
In Nigeria, around the same time, Shell, the UK major, was commissioning the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), a 97 kilometre, 150,000 barrels of oil per day pipeline to receive and transport crude oil from over 15 oil fields in eastern Nigeria to the Bonny terminal on the Atlantic.
These two transmission lines have suffered significant vandalism, in the short time since their inauguration.
In Nigeria especially, the rule has become not to have a single crude evacuation route, if the primary route is through a pipeline.
But just because the risk of pipeline transport is growing does not mean that opportunity in Africa’s hydrocarbon pipeline space is necessarily diminishing. For every kilometre of line that is tampered with in Durban and Warri, there are three kilometres of new pipes being laid in Kabaale in Uganda and Western Desert in Egypt.
And while the focus is high on grid length lines which move fluids from production centres to demand nodes, there is a lot of opportunity in spur lines, in pigging, in maintenance and in integrity issues.
The pipeline story has been an integral part of our reporting in Africa Oil+Gas Report ‘s 21 years of publishing. It surprises even us that an annual edition had not been dedicated to Pipeline issues. With PIPELINE ANNUAL 2022, we are grabbing the opportunity.
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