In the last 2–3 decades, the oil and gas industry has expanded away from the historical centres of production in the Middle East and North African deserts, North America and the North Sea to less accessible ‘remote’ regions of the world such as the eastern flank of the Andes and the Amazon Basin, the Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan), Central Asia, Far East Russia and the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. As a result there has been a demand for increased onshore pipeline capacity to bring these supplies to market. In many instances, these new long-distance, large-diameter (typically 20–56 inches; 508–1422 mm; Fig. 1) pipelines have had to be routed through rugged mountains, leading to numerous terrain-related challenges not typically faced by conventional cross-country pipelines (e.g. Sweeney 2005). For example, the Camisea project has involved the development of gas fields located near Malvinas in the Amazon jungle region of Peru. Gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) are transported 730 km across the Andes (maximum elevation 5200 m) to the coast, supplying the domestic market in Lima (Fig. 2).

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