Decade of Natural Gas Pipeline InvestmentWed, 01/25/2012 - 13:05
Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón announced in November 2011 an investment plan of more than US$10.5 billion to expand use of natural gas in Mexico, which would be achieved with the help of public and private resources. Part of this plan is the amplification of the gas pipeline system by 38% until 2018, which would represent an additional 4,374 km to the pipeline network. Pemex Gas has 12,676 km of pipelines, of which 9,032 km are natural gas pipelines that were capable of transporting 5,012 Mcf/day as of the end of 2010. The network’s utilization rate was 90.4%, as 4,731 Mcf/day of natural gas was transported during 2010.
The investment strategy includes construction of eight new gas pipelines that would reach the regions of Manzanillo, Morelos, Tamazunchale–El Sauz, Chihuahua, Zacatecas and Yucatán, among others. Some of these regions are located in the country’s centre and currently do not have access to natural gas pipelines, like Zacatecas and Morelos. With these projects’ completion, natural gas could be used in 26 Mexican States, instead of the current 22. The goal is to double the number of natural gas consumers so as to reach 4 million users and satisfy part of the country’s growing energy demand with competitive prices and lower CO2 emissions, especially for electricity consumption.
One of the projects, the Manzanillo-Guadalajara pipeline, is already completed. TransCanada won the contract and finished the 307km pipeline’s construction in June 2011. The pipeline has a 30-inch diameter and connects an LNG terminal on Mexico’s Pacific coast in Manzanillo to a nearby CFE power plant, as well as to the national pipeline system owned by Pemex near Guadalajara.
Three further gas pipelines have already been awarded, while the remaining projects are just starting the tender process. Elecnor won the contract for the TlaxcalaMorelos pipeline, Tarahumara pipelines, a subsidiary of the Mexican company Fermaca, will construct and operate the Chihuahua Corridor pipeline, and TransCanada was awarded the contract for the Tamazunchale-El Sauz pipeline (see map on page 305 and details below).