Rio Grande liquefied natural gas plant in Bolivia commences operations

Bolivian national oilfields company YPFB has commenced operations at the Rio Grande liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant with the opening of a virtual pipeline system.

The LNG produced by the plant, which was built by a Spanish consortium led by engineering company Sener, will be transferred using the new pipeline system.

The system consists of a fleet of cryogenic transport tanks and mobile regasification plants in addition to various satellite regasification stations.

Sener was responsible for the design, construction and start-up of the virtual gas pipeline.

The plant produces 210t of LNG per day and has a storage capacity of up to 3,000m³. It is capable of distributing natural gas to 140,000 homes across Bolivia.

YPFB plans to expand the service later on for another 33 municipalities.

Sener’s project manager Ignacio Larrea said: “This virtual gas pipeline is the first of its kind in Bolivia. It is an efficient solution to provide gas to many populated areas that are far from the national gas networks and which, because of their location, can only house a small regasification terminal.

“From now on, inhabitants of these areas can have natural gas in their homes, with quality service ensured by the good operation of the facilities we started up.”

The liquefaction plant uses a dual nitrogen expansion cycle to generate LNG at -160 °C and has a storage capacity for six days.

The gas in the liquid phase is loaded onto cryogenic transport tanks using tank lorry filling (TLF) and is delivered to 27 satellite regasification stations throughout the country.

LNG at these destinations is stored in cryogenic tanks and will be distributed to the municipalities and vehicle service stations.