The 20-inch, 941-kilometer Atacama Pipeline travels from Argentina to the west coast of Chile, crossing the Andes Mountains, a tropical rain forest, and the driest desert in the world. Fluor provided engineering, procurement, and construction management for this project. Construction management included an early community relations program that facilitated Right of Way (ROW) acquisition, government approvals, and allowed an accelerated schedule.
The facilities included five pig launcher / receiver sites, branch connections for future service laterals, two meter stations, 31 mainline value sites, and a cathodic protection system. The pipeline project was completed in 1999.
CMS Gas Transmission and Storage Company (CMS), an affiliate of CMS Energy, a major member of the consortium of U.S., Chilean, and Argentine companies, undertook this project. CMS managed the design and construction of the project and contracted with Fluor to perform detail design, engineering, procurement, and construction management.
The pipeline begins at Coronel Cornejo in the Argentine province of Salta and extends through subtropical commercial farmlands, a tropical rain forest, river valleys, and severe mountain terrain in the Andes. It enters Chile at Paso de Jama and traverses the Atacama desert, which is the driest place in the world. The pipeline ends at an electrical power plant near the Pacific port of Mejillones in northern Chile.
The terrain in Chile is primarily desert with underlying solid rock and areas of steep terrain. The pipeline attains its maximum altitude in Chile, reaching an elevation of 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) above sea level. It was the highest-altitude pipeline constructed at that time.
Fluor provided detailed design, project engineering, procurement, and construction management, which included:
Fluor performed the project at its offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Santiago, Chile.