Donato Santomauro
Country Manager Mexico
View from the Top

Completing Mexico's Pipeline Network

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 17:17

Q: How has the company’s experience with IEnova and TransCanada helped its evolution?

A: After we arrived in Mexico, we met with IEnova, TransCanada and Fermaca to understand their working philosophy. We participated in tenders but did not win. The company then had the opportunity to work with TransCanada and our relationship worked well. We were then awarded El Oro in Mazatlan. Around the same time, we were awarded the Ramones One project. Ramones One was a tough project but we finished it on time. We completed El Oro six months ahead of schedule and delivered a superb HSE performance. Although we are a general contractor building pipelines, compressor stations and metering stations, we have the ability to adapt. Two years ago, we began investing in refined storage terminals and are involved in the Valle de Mexico and Puebla storage terminals, which are still in the early stages of development. In January 2019, there were storage problems in Mexico so now we are following the investment of major companies that will be trying to resolve these storage issues. We will then provide these companies a solid EPC and operational service.

Q: What are Bonatti's main projects in Mexico today?

A: Bonatti’s structure is split into business units, with the largest units being pipelines and plants. The refinery storage project is under the management of the plants unit. At the same time, we are working on the Tula-Villa de Reyes pipeline and conducting studies for other pipelines, including water, gas and oil. As we move gas from the US to central Mexico, most of our work takes place in northern Mexico but we are now exploring opportunities in the south of the country in line with the government’s intention to grow Merida, Quintana Roo and other southern zones.

Q: How is Bonatti working with the companies that have permits for pipeline construction?

A: The last open season was dominated by major companies because they have the money to invest. But we also approached other companies. For example, we built part of the Nueva Era Pipeline in Monterrey for Howard Energy. We know many companies are hoping to build projects so we are approaching each one, both large and small. Bonatti is a local company but it has international experience and is perfectly suited to meet their needs.

Q: What were the biggest challenges you faced during the construction of Proyecto Integral de Morelos?

A: This was one of our best projects because it gave us the chance to begin the company’s Mexicanization process. The main area of difficulty in construction was with the barrancas, in Morelos. These barrancas are canyons 40 meters deep that had to be crossed. We also had to build around Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. We have dealt with these problems before; we have crossed the Alps, the Andes and deserts with our pipelines, so we were confident in our ability.

Q: How does Bonatti mitigate risks associated with construction stoppages due to land disputes or similar issues?

A: When a pipeline is stopped, we change our construction strategy. These issues are managed through our One Team approach, which allows us to communicate while constructing another part of the line. We can move our machinery to an area of the pipeline that is not being disputed if we have an order to proceed elsewhere. In case of total stoppages, we pack up our machinery and send our people home. While we try to minimize the impact of the stoppage, it still negatively affects us.

Q: What are Bonatti’s main projects at the moment?

A: Our main projects are the Tula-Villa de Reyes pipeline, for which we are building around 320km of 36in pipeline and around 120km of 24in. This line will connect the Salamanca refinery with Tula and move gas through Aguascalientes to Guadalajara. The Mexican network needs these pipelines to complete the circuit. The other projects are the two terminals in Valle de Mexico and Puebla.


Bonatti is an Italian oil and gas general contractor. It provides EPC, pipeline/plants construction and O&M services. Bonatti arrived to Mexico in 2012 and has participated in the construction of several long-distance pipelines.