Argentina and Chile

YPF and ENAP Trans-Andean Oil Pipeline Construction

Fluor provided conceptual studies, route selection, and design and construction consulting services to Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales, S.A. (YPF) and Empresa Nacional del Petróleo, Chile (ENAP) for the 265-mile Trans-Andean oil pipeline through Argentina and Chile.

The pipeline crossed the rugged southern Andes, where the maximum elevation is 1,925 meters above sea level and the challenging terrain required special design considerations.

Client's Challenge

Argentina and Chile, with a history of political differences, teamed together for their mutual benefit on the development of the pipeline across the Andes. The 16-inch pipeline would transport 107,000 barrels of oil per day from the Neuquen basin, Argentina's largest oil field, to Chile's port of Concepcion where it would be refined or exported.

The pipeline was necessary due to an increase in Argentina's production following deregulation of the oil industry and YPF's privatization. In addition, the pipeline would allow ENAP to purchase oil more competitively for their refinery in Concepcion.

Fluor's Solution

The pipeline, completed in 1992, was built over the rugged terrain of the southern Andes and required special design calculations and considerations for each segment of the system.

Fluor designed three pumping stations along the Argentinean portion of the route to transport the oil over the mountain range. A pressure reducing station was required on the Chilean portion of the route to reduce pressure that occurs due to the steep terrain descent.

A pipeline-receiving terminal was built in Concepcion, Chile that included a backpressure control station to maintain adequate pressure to prevent vaporization of the crude.

Fluor designed a SCADA system that allowed the pipeline to be monitored and controlled from Puesto Hernandez, Argentina or Concepcion, Chile.


The project schedule was accelerated after the project began to facilitate early system start-up.

As a result, the pipeline was operational at half capacity 15 months into the project, allowing Argentina to begin exporting and producing revenues earlier and providing Chile a steady supply of oil at slightly more competitive prices.