Incahuasi, a gigantic project in the Andean Cordillera foothills

After two-and-a-half years of work, the Incahuasi gas field in Bolivia has just come on stream.
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After two-and-a-half years of work, the Incahuasi gas field in Bolivia has just come on stream.  

Located 250 kilometers south of the economic capital, Santa Cruz, in the Andean Cordillera foothills, the project comprises three wells, a gas treatment plant and a pipeline connected to existing gas export pipelines.  

Stéphane Venes

Incahuasi Project Manager, Total

The plant has a rated capacity of 6.5 million cubic meters a day and will account for just a little over 10% of Bolivia’s total output.

This is the first time Total is the principal operator of a project in Bolivia since it established a presence there in 1994

Stéphane Venes

Incahuasi Project Manager, Total

The Incahuasi project covers nearly 120 kilometers. That’s the distance between a well and the final destination, where the pipeline converges with the existing gas pipeline. We had 3,000 people working on the project at seven to eight different sites.

A gigantic project in a steep, mountainous area, with many over-30° slopes.

But the biggest challenge was logistical and technological, since the operators had to drill more than 5,600 meters underground.

Marco Chavez

Geologist, Incahuasi Project, Total

The area has a structurally complex geology and a steep, rugged topography, which made it very difficult to reach the designated area.

It was hard for everyone because we had to break ground not knowing whether it was the right spot. But based on various technological data, studies and models, we were able to locate the well. We then drilled a sidetrack, which allowed us to discover the Incahuasi field.

Incahuasi is also an outstanding example of a successful community outreach project.

The gas field passes through territory inhabited by the Guarani people. Total therefore created a program for the benefit of the indigenous communities. Access to water, education and agricultural training are among the initiatives put in place to promote the development of the local population.

With the Incahuasi project, Bolivia will help meet the growing demand for natural gas in South America.

75% of the gas will be exported. 

Loïc Laurandel

General Manager, Total E&P Bolivie

With historical fields currently facing an extremely sharp decline in production, this output will help us satisfy trade obligations with regard to export contracts in Argentina and Brazil.

We are very proud because many challenges had to be overcome, and I think everyone is anxiously awaiting for that first molecule of gas to be exported.

Total is already looking to the future. Incahuasi phase 2, which is scheduled to start in 2019, should double production to 13 million cubic meters of gas a day. 

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