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A section of the pipeline was ruptured in an erosion event in the Coca River, on the border between Napo and Sucumbíos. The team worked in record time to bring the transport of crude oil back on line, a vital operation for the country.

On April 6, an erosion event took place on the bed of the Coca River, suddenly deepening it and collapsing the river walls. The ensuing landslide brought down the pipeline supports and led to the rupture of a section of the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline (OCP) and the Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline System (SOTE) running along the border between the provinces of Napo and Sucumbíos.

After the break occurred, OCP immediately contacted Techint E&C to draw up a proposal to repair the pipeline and reestablish crude oil transport by building a by-pass. The repairs included work on a part of the pipeline running underground, and another aboveground section along a stretch of 1.7 km.

One of the great challenges this assignment had to tackle was carrying out work in the context of the COVID-19. Although all the requisite preventive measures were applied as from the beginning of the pandemic at company operations in the Auca and Shushufindi fields, in this instance, the team had to cross several provincial cantons deploying different sanitary controls, which delayed mobilization times for crew, equipment and supplies.

In this complex context, the works were completed in 24 days, involving some 270 people from all areas of the company.

Techint E&C returned to the OCP, an emblematic project in its portfolio, seventeen years after completing the building work, involving the construction and laying of 503 km of pipelines, as well as building four pumping stations, two reduction stations, five crude storage tanks and an offshore terminal. This project presented the company with a diverse range of community, climatic and geographic challenges, including crossing a volcano and an ecological reserve.

Oscar Scarpari, Area Manager of Techint E&C in the Andean Area, notes that: "We have shown that even in times as complex as the one we are going through, we can respond to our customers’ needs in a timely fashion, respecting safety, costs and quality."