Jesus de la Garza
Director General
API Tmaulipas
View from the Top

Connecting Markets Across the Sea

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 18:07

Q: What are the main port developments that have taken place at API Tamaulipas since the beginning of the year?

A: Since the beginning of 2019, the port took on a new role, transitioning from a construction phase to taking steps toward becoming fully operational. In 4Q18, the port awarded the Mexican company TMM the concession of the Offshore Supply Base Terminal. At the beginning of 2019, dredging activities were concluded reaching a draft of 9m, exceeding the required depths for most vessels related to offshore activities. At the end of 2019, we will award the signaling of the ports of navigation, looking for all the aids to navigation to be installed by the end of the calendar year.

Q: One of the goals is for the port to be operational by the beginning of 2020. What stage has this plan reached?

A: We are on track for making this a reality and the port is committed to this goal. We are working with our contractors and suppliers to have all navigation aids installed by the end of 2019. We are also in communication with all federal, state and local authorities, coordinating and finalizing every detail to be in complete compliance with them and begin operation in early 2020 as scheduled.

Q: What is the ports’ current capacity to support deep-water drilling in order to receive and service FPSOs?

A: The main reason the port was built was precisely to support deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Once the presence of large quantities of oil and gas in the Citurón Plegado Perdido Basin was confirmed, it would only be a matter of time before the market demanded a base supply terminal to service all activities related to this industry. The objective is that the terminal currently being built by Grupo R will serve as the supply base for all drilling operations, as it will provide a wide range of services. Currently, the draught of the ports is 9m, which limits access by large FPSOs; however, short-term plans include dredging to reach 12m.

Q: What are the current and future plans to increase port draft to handle larger vessels are expected to arrive at the port?

A: With a draught of 9m, the port is in more than sufficient condition to receive vessels carrying out drilling activities in the gulf since most of the drilling activity is still in the exploratory phase, and not in the production or extraction phases. There is no immediate need to add additional draft; however, it could occur once drilling enters the production phases. However, we have identified other non-oil and gas industries that require larger vessels and therefore a deeper draft. One of them is the automotive industry. In the neighboring states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, more than 20,000 vehicles are manufactured monthly and exported to over 90 countries through other ports. Once the port reaches depths of 12m, these manufacturers will look in the port of Matamoros for their logistics solutions.

Q: The main purpose for the Matamoros port is to provide the services that will support offshore developments for the next 10 years. What is the current status for these services?

A: The availability of these services is in line with the activities in the Gulf. The companies awarded the contracts for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the Perdido Basin are still in the process of establishment and start-up. Grupo R and TMM have submitted the final designs and have begun the initial construction of their terminal and expect to be operational in 2020. As drilling begins in the gulf, the port will be continuously evolving to meet the demands of the market, in both infrastructure and services that will be provided.

Q: What is your business cooperation status with ports in the US and how are you planning to attract Mexican ships to your port?

A: Our plan is to cooperate closely with US ports. We intend to formalize our collaborations with these ports in an effort to ensure the best and most efficient conditions. Our collaboration with other ports is not only limited to those in the US, but also to ports in other countries. We recently visited the Scottish port of Aberdeen and intend to sign an MOU with them to service deepwater drilling operations.


API Tamaulipas' primary function is to serve as hub for economic development in northeastern Mexico, by providing
quality port services for the oil and gas industry as well as other cargo services.