01 July 2021

EP PETROECUADOR PRESENTED THE CASE STUDY: REGRESSIVE AND LATERAL EROSION OF QUIJOS RIVER, A PHENOMENON THAT HAS BEEN CAUSING LARGE-SCALE IMPACTS FOR MORE THAN A YEAR

  • The virtual workshop “Case Study: Regressive and Lateral Erosion of the Quijos River - Ecuador”, organized by ARPEL, was held in early July and featured presentations by Alfonso Jiménez and Pablo Ordóñez from EP Petroecuador. The moderation was in charge of Irene Alfaro, Downstream Director of the Association.

    For more than a year now, this natural phenomenon has been causing several large-scale impacts on the hydrocarbon transport infrastructure, among others.

    The main goals of the meeting were the exchange of experiences and knowledge among the pipeline operating companies in the Region, in order to technically assist our partner company EP Petroecuador in the corresponding mitigation and contingency actions, as well as share the lessons learned from this case.

    The workshop was attended by professionals from Cenit, Coga, EP Petroecuador, ECI (Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería), Honeywell, Otasa (Oleoducto Trasandino Argentino SA), PAE, Petroperú, Recope, TGN, Tecpetrol, YPF and YPFB.

    Regarding the background to the case, the natural phenomenon of regressive and lateral erosion of Quijos River (Alto Coca) and its tributaries, that originated when San Rafael waterfall in the Eastern Region of Ecuador collapsed, caused on April 7, 2020 the rupture of the Trans-Ecuadorian Oil Pipeline System (Sistema de Oleoducto Transecuatoriano, SOTE), Shushufindi - Quito Polyduct, Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline (Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados, OCP), and the destruction of the State road E-45, electric power transmission lines, civil, public and private constructions, as well as socio-environmental impact and economic losses to the Ecuadorian State and private companies.

    Under these circumstances, the transport systems operators had to act in an emerging manner, carrying out geological and geotechnical studies, and building variants of their pipelines, among other activities, to avoid environmental contamination due to hydrocarbon spills.

    This natural phenomenon is still active, it has an unpredictable dynamic, due to the presence of El Reventador Volcano and its permanent activity, as well as the increase in rainfall in the Eastern Cordillera, putting the infrastructure located on the left bank of the river at risk of collapse.

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