50 years of FORAN in continuous reinvention - December 2014 - No. 48 /Up-to-Date

Tests on Bolivia’s virtual pipeline

A future satellite regasification station.

A future satellite regasification station.

This past September, the first test was conducted on the virtual pipeline that SENER is providing for the state-owned petrol company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) in the vicinity of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. The system comprises a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, a fleet of cryogenic transport tanks, mobile regasification units and satellite regasification stations located at different sites across Bolivia. SENER leads the consortium that is in charge of the system’s design and construction.

The test –which was attended by Bolivian President Evo Morales and President of YPFB Carlos Villegas– saw the successful loading, transportation and distribution of LNG in tanker trucks to San Julián, San José de Chiquitos (municipalities in eastern Bolivia) and Tupiza (municipality in southern Bolivia). These are three of the areas that will benefit from the new virtual pipeline, which, once operational in 2015, will produce 210 tons of LNG per day and will have an additional storage capacity of 3,000 m3, allowing it to supply natural gas to 140,000 homes in 27 municipalities across the country. According to YPFB, a subsequent extension of the service is forecast for 33 more municipalities that otherwise would have no access to gas due to their distance from traditional distribution networks.

LNG process
Through a dual nitrogen expansion cycle, the liquefaction plant generates LNG at -160 °C and has a storage capacity of six days. In this liquid phase, the gas is loaded onto cryogenic transport tanks using Tank Lorry Filling (TLF) and is delivered to 27 satellite regasification stations throughout the country. At these destinations, the LNG is put in storage tanks so it can then be distributed to the municipalities. To do this, the liquid goes through a regasification process in which rising temperatures convert it back into a gas. Next, the natural gas is odorized and connected to the pipe network destined for homes, industries with minor consumption, etc. This is what is known as household gas.

This facility is of special importance since it is the first of its kind in Bolivia and will contribute to the promotion of natural gas as the main energy source for the country’s population.


Simulation of the LNG plant.  Simulation of the LNG plant. Simulation of a truck from YPFB. Simulation of a satellite regasification station.

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