New Pipeline Across The Andes Will Double the Oil Production Capacity in Ecuador

Wartsila Corporation
  • Press release
5 September 2001 at 3:01 AM E. Europe Standard Time

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release September 5 2001

Work has started on a new oil pipeline across the Andes in Ecuador. The new OCP pipeline begins near Lago Agrio, in the oil rich Amazonas region of Ecuador, climbs to 4062 m above sea level on its route across the Andes and ends at the Marine Terminal near to Esmeraldas on the Pacific coast. The total length of the pipeline is about 500 km. For most of its route the new pipeline will run parallel to the existing Transecuadorian Pipeline, SOTE, that was built by Texaco in the 70’s.
Four pumping stations will operate in series on the uphill part of OCP pipeline providing the dynamic pressure head for the flow and the static head for the altitude increase. In the pumping stations heavy crude oil blend is heated to 65-75 Celsius in order to reduce the viscosity. These pumping stations are the heart of pipeline and they will play a critical role in the reliable operation of the new pipeline.

The contract to supply equipment for the pumping stations has been awarded to Wärtsilä, the Finnish power and marine engineering group. Wärtsilä is supplying equipment for 4 pumping stations, 22 pumping units in total. The output of each will vary from 3.1 MW to 3.4 MW and each unit consists of one Wärtsilä 12V32LN crude oil fuelled driver-engine, a speed increasing gear-box and a centrifugal pump. The units will be delivered during 2002. The first delivery of 8 units will be in January followed by 6 units in March and the final 8 in April.

The old existing transportation systems reached the full capacity over ten years ago and throughout the 90s the shortage of additional oil transportation capacity has been the main issue in the oil production in Ecuador. In 1998 Ecuadorian government invited oil producers operating in Ecuador Oriente to launch a parallel pipeline project for SOTE. To increase capacity, the necessity for an additional transport capacity was so evident that a venture for a new pipeline was established.

The oil producers; YPF-Repsol (Spain), Oxy (USA), Kerr McGee (USA), AGIP (Italy), Alberta Energy Co. (Canada), PerezCompanc (Argentina) and Petroecuador agreed that the new pipeline would transport heavy crude oils, below API 24, and SOTE would be for the lighter crude oils. The new pipeline is called: OCP, Oleoducto Crudos Pesados, Heavy Crude Oil-pipeline, the pipeline venture took the name OCP Consortium as well.

The first conceptual inquiries for the main machinery were issued in the spring 1999 and at the end of that year Techint was selected the main EPC-contractor. After a couple of bidding rounds and capacity iterations, and after environmental impact assessment, the final permission to start the construction was awarded to the OCP pipeline project in July 2001.

The schedule target to start the operation of OCP is planned for the beginning of 2003. The total investment cost estimate of the OCP pipeline is 1,1 BUSD including the construction project and all the right-of-way permits etc. land acquisitions.

Maria Strand
PR & Publicity Manager
Wärtsilä Corporation
Direct tel: +358 10 709 1533