Global pipelines construction outlook 2024—Part 2

M. REED, Pipeline & Gas Journal, Houston, Texas 

Note: This article originally appeared in Gas Processing & LNG’s sister publication Pipeline & Gas Journal within the January 2024 issue.  

At the beginning of this year, Pipeline & Gas Journal reported a total of 41,999 mi of pipeline under construction. Another 80,557 mi of pipeline are in the planning stages, reaching a combined total of 122,556 mi worldwide. Overall, that figure represents a 9.3% increase globally over the previous year.   

Part 1 of this article—featured in the April issue—provided a forecast of capital investments in new pipeline capacity construction in North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. This article will provide a forecast on pipeline construction in Africa, Asia, Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Middle East.  


Pipeline under construction: 4,398 mi 

Pipeline planned: 8,858 mi 

Total: 13,256 mi 

Pipelines have not been the main midstream story in Europe this year. Instead, the continent is continuing its massive LNG build-out as it looks to replace Russian pipeline gas.  

Over the period from the start of 2022 to the start of 2023, Europe added about 77 MMtpy of new LNG regasification capacity, representing a 44% increase over 2021. Nearly 37 MMtpy of this capacity has started or will begin operations by the end of the year.  

Additionally, Europe is expanding its gas pipeline networks to support gas flows from these new LNG terminals. For example, Germany is planning to add 355 mi of pipeline over the next few years—almost all of which will be high-capacity pipe with a diameter of 39-in. or greater—to accommodate new LNG imports. 

Hydrogen (H2) pipelines. The other big pipeline story in Europe centers on the ongoing development of the European Hydrogen Backbone (FIG. 7), which could see many existing natural gas pipelines across Europe converted to carry H2, as well as some new pipeline construction.  

FIG. 7. A map of the European Hydrogen Backbone in 2040. Source: European Hydrogen Backbone.

Most of Phase 1 of the European Hydrogen Backbone—with significant sections located in France, Germany, Belgium and Austria—is expected to begin operations between 2026 and 2030, with future expansions planned. Many H2 pipelines are also being built as part of H2 clusters across the continent.  


Pipeline under construction: 2,829 mi 

Pipeline planned: 12,742 mi 

Total: 15,571 mi 

Both Africa and the Middle East have been quiet regions for pipelines this year. In Africa, major projects continue to languish in the early stages of planning: relatively few projects have entered the construction stage and no major projects have begun operations this year. Planned pipelines in Africa total 15,571 mi, but only 2,829 mi of pipeline are under construction.  

In Uganda, the Tilenga and Kingfisher projects, as well as a pipeline to carry oil to Tanzania for export, are on track for first production by 2025. The 898-mi (1,445-km) East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) that will transport crude from Tilenga and Kingfisher is scheduled to begin operations in 2025. EACOP is co-owned by the Ugandan government, France’s TotalEnergies, China’s CNOOC and Tanzania’s Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp. (TPDC). 

Uganda is also in advanced talks with Chinese export credit agency SINOSURE to provide credit for the project, which will cost $5 B, including the cost of credit. Approximately 40% of the project’s capital cost will be raised through debt, while the rest will come from equity. 


Pipeline under construction: 1,164 mi 

Pipeline planned: 5,828 mi 

Total: 6,992 mi 

In the Middle East, 6,992 mi of pipeline are planned or under construction. Most new pipelines are shorter and will connect new fields across the region to existing pipeline networks—little in the way of major transmission pipelines are in development for oil, refined products or gas.  

QatarEnergy signed a deal with ExxonMobil for the Gulf state’s North Field East expansion—the world’s largest LNG project—following agreements with TotalEnergies, Eni and ConocoPhillips. Qatar is partnering with international companies in the first and largest phase of the nearly $30-B expansion. 

The companies will form a JV, with ExxonMobil holding a 25% stake. Oil majors have been bidding for four trains that comprise the North Field East project. In all, the North Field expansion plan includes six LNG trains that will ramp up Qatar’s liquefaction capacity from 77 MMtpy to 126 MMtpy by 2027. 

In 2022, the Iraqi government approved a framework agreement for the long-studied Basra-Aqaba Oil Pipeline roughly 3 mos after talks between Iraq and Jordan were reported by Iraq’s oil ministry to have reached an “advanced stage.”  

The latest step impelled a project that the two countries had agreed to in 2012. Last year, the ministry noted that the cost should be brought under $9 B for the project to be greenlighted. However, there have been reports since last April that the project is taking longer than expected and has stalled as Iran tries to block its construction on the pretext that it aims to supply oil to Israel and other nations. 

The pipeline would carry crude oil to the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co.’s plant in Zarqa to meet Jordan’s needs and to the port of Aqaba for export. Phase 1 of the project would be constructed in Iraq, across a 435-mi (700-km) stretch between Rumaila and Haditha. 


Pipeline under construction: 13,331 mi 

Pipeline planned: 21,266 mi 

Total: 34,597 mi 

The Asia-Pacific region continues to maintain the newest pipeline activity. This is in large part due to the fast-growing infrastructure of the world’s two most populated countries, China and India. 

India is seeing an enormous pipeline infrastructure build-out as economic growth takes off. GDP growth for the country is forecast to be 6%–7% over the next year, and the nation is hopeful that gas will increase to a 15% market share in the total energy mix by 2030, up from about 6% in 2022. Major gasification efforts are taking place in the country’s northeast and northwest, with pipelines also increasingly reaching out from the coasts to central India. 

However, some projects continue to be plagued by delays. GAIL’s Mumbai-Nagpur-Jharsuguda pipeline is a case in point (FIG. 8). The pipeline planners had hoped to avoid delays by choosing a route adjacent to a government highway, removing the need to obtain permissions to build from private landowners. Commissioning has been pushed back from May 2023 to October 2024.  

FIG. 8. View of the Mumbai-Nagpur-Jharsuguda pipeline system in India. Source: Global Energy Infrastructure.

In February, GAIL claimed the 451-mi Mumbai-to-Nagpur section was about 80% complete, with GAIL citing technical issues for the delay. The 874-mi, 32-in. pipeline will run from Mumbai to Jharsuguda, delivering 580 MMft3d of gas to new markets in central India. 

Other delayed projects include the final phase of GSPL’s Mehsana-Bhatinda pipeline in the northwest—delayed due to difficulties obtaining building permission from local farmers—and IMC’s Kakinada-Vijayawada-Nellore pipeline. Originally expected in 2021, that pipeline’s startup has been pushed to 2024. 

Nevertheless, India’s pipeline expansions remain exceptional. Construction on IGGL’s northeast gas grid continues, and the pipeline system is expected to be fully commissioned in March 2024.  

Hundreds of millions of people stand to benefit from access to new energy sources. Approximately 10% of the global pipeline mileage under construction is in India, and that number is likely to increase in the future. 


Pipeline under construction: 6,981 mi 

Pipeline planned: 11,239 mi 

Total: 18,220 mi 

Mega-projects comprise most of new pipeline activity in Russia, and much of that is in the planning stages. Of the 18,220 mi of pipelines planned and/or under construction in Russia, nearly 25% are associated with a few mega-projects. 

The most watched pipeline projects in the region are the three Power of Siberia projects, which aim to increase Russia’s gas exports to China. Power of Siberia 1—which opened in 2019—continues to ramp up to full capacity this year.  

The Power of Siberia 3 project has also progressed this year. The pipeline will connect Dalnerchensk in Russia’s far east to the Chinese city of Harbin, allowing gas from fields on and around the island of Sakhalin to reach China. In January 2023, a key agreement allowing the construction on the cross-border section of the pipeline was signed, although the deal has not been ratified. An expansion project for the Vladivostok Gas Transmission System, which will supply Power of Siberia 3, was completed in December 2022. 

Though the expansion provided no immediate increase in capacity, it has prepared the pipeline to supply up to 3 Bft3d of gas—up from about 2.4 Bft3d—once additional compressor stations are added.  

The most important Russian project remains Power of Siberia 2. Unlike the other Power of Siberia projects, which link to recently developed gas fields in Russia’s far east, Power of Siberia 2 would draw from Russia’s gas fields in Western Siberia—the heart of Russian gas production—where most Russian upstream gas infrastructure is located.  

Without European markets, this gas is stranded. Power of Siberia 2 would provide an alternative export route, connecting the West Siberian Basin to China with a 55-in., 5-Bft3d pipeline. The pipeline would cost tens of billions of dollars and would likely take at least a decade to build.  

High-level talks held in Moscow in the spring of 2023 were expected to result in a gas deal regarding the pipeline. However, no formal deal materialized. At the time of this publication, the project remains in limbo. 

Additionally, Novatek has officially announced its project to construct an extensive 40-Bm3y, 808-mi (1,300-km) gas pipeline to Murmansk, Russia. Approximately 75% of the pipeline’s capacity is reserved as feedstock for the Murmansk LNG plant, with the remaining supplies being used for gasification in homes and industry in the Karelia and Murmansk regions.  

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