The selection of a pipeline route is of great importance in minimizing the levels of construction and maintenance cost and in determining the outcomes of reliability, environmental impact, social impact and development timeframe. The decision of choosing one route over another must be informed by the correct balance between significant variables using a structured and transparent process, arriving at repeatable results.

Predictable outcomes depend on knowing what information is important in a particular context and utilizing information with a known level of accuracy. Each step in the process of refining a design and cost estimate is a function of the effort put into engineering design as well as the accuracy of the inputs. Knowing what information is required and how to get that information quickly and economically is key to meeting cost and time goals in the pipeline development process.

Finding “the best” route varies from being a simple process in agricultural table lands, to a very complex process in rugged, remote, ecologically sensitive lands on the development frontier. In this paper the authors describe the process that was used in a heavily dissected jungle environment in a remote area of Northern Peru. Constraints included a very limited footprint for construction and operations, steep unstable slopes, continually varying grades and terrain types and a large number of water crossings.

Issues that are discussed in this paper include: decision making for data acquisition and applicable remote sensing technology, terrain analysis tools, routing methodology, integration of construction methodology with terrain elements and route optimization and decision making processes.

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