Planned pipeline construction to be completed in 2012 rose 6.7% from the previous year, with increases in planned crude and natural gas pipelines more than countering sharply reduced products pipeline construction plans.
Operators plan to complete installing 8,887 miles in 2012 alone (Table 1), with natural gas construction's share of the plans (more than 6,900 miles) making up nearly 78% of the total, based on reports from the world's pipeline operating companies and data collected by Oil & Gas Journal.
Looking forward to 2012 and beyond, however, for the fourth consecutive year less mileage is planned than had been the year before, as fiscal worries in a number of regions continue to weigh on large, long lead-time infrastructure projects such as pipelines.
Also in contrast to 2012 plans, long-term construction plans (2012 and beyond) saw growth in both crude and products lines, while plans for gas pipelines shrank, with expanded crude and NGL line plans in the US leading the way forward.
Larger long-term crude pipeline plans in the US, Canada, and Asia-Pacific boosted 2012 and beyond crude miles by 15% from global totals the previous year.
Planned product pipeline construction for 2012 and beyond registered increases in the US, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East.
As a whole, combining both current-year and forward estimates (Fig. 1), the US, Canada, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America saw increases in planned construction, with decreases seen in all other regions.
As 2012 began, operators had announced plans to build more than 45,500 miles of crude oil, product, and natural gas pipelines beginning this year and extending into the next decade, a 3.6% decrease from data reported a year ago (OGJ, Feb. 7, 2011, p. 113), but a slowdown in the rate of contraction after 2 consecutive years of more than 14% losses. The majority (more than 68%) of these plans is still for natural gas, but this segment continues to contract globally relative to crude and products.