This July 9, Salliqueló, more than 500 kilometers from CABA, will offer the most important political photo of the electoral campaign of Unión por la Patria. Presidential candidate Sergio Massa, President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Kirchner will meet there to inaugurate the President Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline, the most important energy infrastructure work in the country in recent decades. The pipeline that will take Vaca Muerta gas through four provinces officially starts on Independence Day.
The Minister of Economy arrives on July 9 as the head of the so-called “unity list” (despite the fact that it will go internal with the Grabois-Abal Medina formula), arising from a political agreement signed by Cristina Kirchner in agreement with the president Fernández, the governors, the Buenos Aires PJ and the CGT.
The 573-kilometer gas pipeline is a phenomenal platform that allows the presidential candidate to set an auspicious development horizon, and take some relief in a daily life overwhelmed by the lack of dollars for production and high levels of inflation and low average wages.
Economy projected that the gas pipeline “only in the remainder of the year will save US$2.100 million, thus covering almost the entire investment made by the State for its execution, and US$4.200 million per year for substitution of gas imports.”
“They said it was impossible to do it in eight months, but they and thousands like them made it possible,” Massa celebrated on Twitter on June 20, when the last weld of the pipes provided by the Techint metallurgical conglomerate was sealed. The minister viralized the video of the workers dancing with their arms around each other, as a celebration of that last stitch. The work, reported Economía, implied the generation of 48 thousand direct and indirect jobs.
Favia Royón, the Secretary of Energy of the Nation, announced that the GPNK will be followed by “the northern reversal”, to bring the gas from Vaca Muerta to the north of the country”. And the second section of the gas pipeline will reach Santa Fe, which will double the production volume of Vaca Muerta.
In the middle of the week, to avoid political speculation, Energía Argentina, the public company in charge of the construction of the gas pipeline, informed that Massa, Fernández and Cristina Kirchner will share the act in Salliqueló. “The photo of unity”, they said in Unión por la Patria, which until two weeks ago was on its way to an inmate between Wado de Pedro and Daniel Scioli, with the League of Governors in rebellion.
The act of July 9 will be at three in the afternoon, at the Salliqueló Measurement Station of the gas pipeline, where it connects with the main network. Governor Axel Kicillof will be the host, and the other provincial leaders where the GPNK passes through will also be present: Omár Gutiérrez (Neuquén), Sergio Ziliotto (La Pampa) and Arabella Carreras (Río Negro). The presence of national deputy Máximo Kirchner, who is credited with having proposed Agustín Rossi as Massa’s running mate, was confirmed. The Chief of Staff will also attend the event, as well as Minister Wado de Pedro, national officials and representatives of companies and trade union leaders.
The works “in record time”, according to the government, concluded on June 20. That day the first 29 km were enabled, and on successive days new sections were put into operation until reaching km 285 of the route. On Saturday, July 8, the valve at km 285 opens, which enables the passage of gas to Salliqueló up to km 570 and continue like this until the gas pipeline is completely filled.
The construction of the GPNK began after the signing of the contracts in August 2022, when the soil movement, equipment transfer and track opening works began, which is the “path” where the gas pipeline is laid.
According to information from Energía Argentina, “after the first welds on the track, progress was made with an average of 5 km per day, counting the three work fronts.” More than 47,700 pipes 12 meters long and 36 inches in diameter were laid between Tratayén (Neuquén) and Salliqueló.
The pipeline is 573 kilometers long. (Photo / Telam)
The GPNK is considered key to developing the production of Vaca Muerta, the world’s second unconventional gas reserve. Gas transportation capacity will be increased from Vaca Muerta to industrial and consumption centers, with a near horizon of energy self-sufficiency.
The importance of the work for the country, benefits that the next government will take advantage of, for now has not had an impact on the electoral debate for the PASO of August 13. The presidential candidates of Together for Changes, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Patricia Bullrich, have not alluded to the GPNK. Governor Juan Schiaretti, a pre-candidate for We Do for Our Country, said when launching his campaign that “the gas pipeline should have been built seven years ago”, blamed the governments of Macri and Fernández for the delay, and mentioned that in Córdoba they were laid ” more than 3 thousand kilometers of pipelines in a year and a half”. He did not allude to the importance of the pipeline for federal development.
Massa, as a pre-candidate, days ago told the Construction Chamber that the International Monetary Fund refused to allow the State to make funds available in the first half of this year for the GPNK. “’The gas pipeline can wait, but you have to meet the goal,’” said Massa, who raised the IMF. “It was a phenomenal discussion last year,” he added.
“But now for Argentina (the gas pipeline) there are US$2 billion in savings, and next year it will be US$3800 million. It was important to do it. They told us that it was impossible for us to finish it,” Massa insisted on the gas pipeline, perhaps the most important work of the Alberto Fernández administration.
Although specialists point out the benefits that the GPNK will bring to the development and strengthening of classic industries by providing “cheaper gas”, a report by RIA Consultores highlighted “the great opportunity” it implies for agriculture “in terms of import substitution and generation of foreign currency.
The report indicates that the GPNK could release “some 2.5 million cubic meters (m3) per day for the national fertilizer industry,” with “immediate savings of more than US$700 million per year in import substitution” and “foreign currency additional for another US$ 220 million”.
“As Argentine agriculture has increased its grain production, it has also needed many more inputs, mainly fertilizers,” and “the availability of more gas can contribute to the national production of more urea,” a key input for Argentine producers, he specified. agronomist Javier Preciado Patiño, author of the report.
”If, thanks to the implementation of the GPNK, 2.5 million m3 of gas were released per day for the fertilizer industry, the national production of urea could be doubled, taking it to 2.8 million tons per year, which would cover all the necessary volume for Argentine producers”, says the report.
Likewise, “there would be a remnant to export as added value at origin,” the paper maintains. In addition, it opens up the possibility of exporting some 600,000 tons of urea per year, generating foreign exchange for no less than an additional US$ 220 million.
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