The longest natural gas pipelines in the world

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The longest natural gas pipelines in the world are thousands of kilometres long. Resources are slowly dwindling and countries are getting more reliant on imports from a range of fields and prospects around the world. So you can imagine how long these infrastructures could get traversing countries and even continents.

Here are the longest natural gas pipelines in the world thus far. The list comprises completed and under-construction pipelines.

  1. West-East Gas Pipeline in Asia (length 20, 480 kilometres)
  2. Yamal-Europe Pipeline in Europe (length 4,196 kilometres)
  3. Trans-Saharan Pipeline in Africa (length 4,127 kilometres)
  4. Bolivia–Brazil pipeline (GASBOL) in the Americas (length 3,150 kilometres)
  5. Rockies Express Gas Pipeline in the Americas (length 2,702 kilometres)

1. West-East Gas Pipeline

Originally known as the First West-East Gas Pipeline that became operational in 2004, the West-East Gas Pipeline Project is a natural gas supply system stretching across China from east to west.

The pipeline is currently made up of three sections, i.e. the First, Second and Third West-East Gas Pipelines. The First West–East Gas Pipeline is about 4,000 kilometres long running from Lunnan in Xinjiang to Shanghai. The Second and Third West-East Gas Pipelines on the other hand are  9,102 kilometres and 7,378 kilometres long. They run from Khorgas in northwestern Xinjiang to Guangzhou in Guangdong, and from Horgos in western Xinjiang to Fuzhou in Fujian respectively. The three pipelines are interconnected and can be controlled in an integrated manner through the hubs in Zhongwei, Jingbian, Zaoyang and Ji’an.

Comprising trunk and branch pipelines as well as gas storages, the West-East Gas Pipeline has a delivery capacity of 77 billion cubic meters. It delivers natural gas from Western China and Central Asia to the major target consumer markets in Southeast China, as well as users along the lines.

2. Yamal-Europe Pipeline

The Yamal-Europe pipeline connects the Russian natural gas reserves in the Yamal Peninsula and Western Siberia to Poland and Germany, through Belarus.

The pipeline consists of four sections i.e. Bovanenkovo–Ukhta, and Ukhta–Torzhok which are 1, 200 kilometres and 970 kilometres long. The other sections are the western section from Torzhok also known as the Yamal–Europe section and the partly parallel SRTO–Torzhok branch section. These are 1,660 km kilometres and 2,200 kilometres long respectively. 

With a diameter of 142cm, Yamal-Europe is considered the world’s widest pipeline. It is able to carry 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas through 14 compressor stations. The majority of the pipeline, which runs through Russia, is owned by national energy giant Gazprom.

3. Trans-Saharan Pipeline

The Trans-Saharan gas pipeline is a planned natural gas pipeline from Nigeria in the Western African region to Algeria in North Africa.

Also known as the NIGAL pipeline and Trans-African gas pipeline, the pipeline is set to start in the Warri region in Nigeria, run north through Niger, to culminate at Hassi R’Mel in Algeria. Here, the pipeline will connect to the existing Trans-Mediterranean, Maghreb–Europe, Medgaz, and Galsi pipelines that supply Europe from the gas transmission hubs at El Kala and Beni Saf on Algeria’s Mediterranean coast.

With a diameter of 48 to 56 inches, the pipeline will be 4,128 kilometres long. 1,037 kilometres of the pipeline will be in Nigeria, 841 kilometres in Niger, and 2,310 kilometres in Algeria. Its annual capacity will reportedly be up to 30 billion cubic meters.

4. GASBOL Gas Pipeline

The Bolivia–Brazil pipeline (GASBOL) is a 3,150 kilometres pipeline that connects Bolivia’s gas sources with the southeast regions of Brazil. The pipeline is the longest natural gas pipeline in South America and the fourth in the world. 

The pipeline was built in two stages, the first of which runs from the Rio Grande, near Santa Cruz de la Sierra, to Corumbá in Mato Grosso do Sul. It proceeds to Campinas in the state of São Paulo and Guararema, where it’s connected with the Brazilian network. In total, this section of the GASBOL gas pipeline that began operation in June 1999 is 1,418 kilometres long. It has a diameter varying from 24 to 32 inches.

The second section of the pipeline is 1,165 kilometres long linking Campinas to Canoas, near Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul. With a diameter varying from 16 to 24 inches, this section was completed in March 2000 bringing the maximum capacity of the GASBOL gas pipeline to 11 billion cubic metres per annum.

5. Rockies Express Gas Pipeline

The Rockies Express Pipeline is a high-pressure natural gas pipeline system that runs from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the eastern region of Ohio. The pipeline system is made of three sections i,e, REX – Entrega (Zone 1), REX – West (Zone 2) and REX – East (Zone 3), running through a total of eight states.

REX – Entrega is the 528 kilometres long former Entrega Pipeline. This section runs between the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, and the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, Colorado. The REX–West, on the other hand, is a 1,147 kilometres long pipeline from Weld County, Colorado, to Audrain County, Missouri. This section of the Rockies Express Pipeline has an 8-kilometre-long branch connecting the pipeline with the Williams Energy-owned Echo Springs Processing Plant. Lastly, REX–East is a 1,027-kilometre-long pipeline that runs from Audrain County, Missouri, to Clarington in Monroe County, Ohio.

Overall Rockies Express Pipeline is 2,702 kilometres long making it one of the largest natural gas pipelines ever built in North America.