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Petrobras opens Urucu-Coari-Manaus pipeline

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Nov. 30 -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) began commercial operations on its Urucu-Coari-Manaus natural gas pipeline Nov. 27. The 661-km pipeline is part of Brazil’s Growth Acceleration Program and includes seven branches totaling an additional 140 km, bringing gas from Brazil’s Amazonian Solimoes basin to market. Branch lines extend from the trunk to Coari, Codajas, Anori, Anama, Caapiranga, Manacapuru, and Iranduba.

The Transpetro-operated pipeline’s initial capacity measures 4.1 million cu m/day. Installation of two compressions stations between Urucu and Coari will increase the line’s capacity to the contracted 5.5 million cu m/day by September 2010 when conversion of the associated power plants from fuel oil has occurred. Of the 5.5 million cu m/day, Petrobas says 5 million will supply the thermal market with the remaining 0.5 will go to industrial, commercial, residential, and vehicular customers.

The 196-km section between Coari and Anama encompasses the pipeline’s longest course of flood areas. Some 6,000 floats and barrels helped support the line, with helicopters transporting individual section weighing 4.5 tons each, and 19 directional hiles drilled under river beds

The Urucu-Coari section uses 279 km of newbuild 10-in. OD pipeline to transport LPG, with the existing 8-in LPG line converted to natural gas transport. The 196-km Coari-Anama section includes a 20-in OD newbuild gas pipeline. The final 186-km stretch from Anama to Manaus includes the largest number of communities along the line, 135.

Petrobras said converting the seven thermoelectric power plants in northeastern Brazil served by the pipeline from fuel oil to natural gas will remove 1.2 million tons/year of carbon dioxide emissions. Conversion of the power plants is happening on a staged basis and will be complete by September 2010, according to Petrobras.

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