Robert Jones
TC Energía
View from the Top

Pipeline Connections Across International Lines

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 16:57

Q: What role will Mexico play in your development strategy now that you have transformed from TransCanada Corp. to TC Energía?

A: The name change is a reflection of our growth. TC reflects our origins as TransCanada Pipelines. We have added the word Energy to our name to be more representative of our entire business, which includes pipelines, power generation and energy storage operations. The new name also has variations in Spanish, English and French, also honoring the fact that we operate in Mexico, Canada and the US, building a stronger link with our staff, clients and stakeholders across the geography where we operate. Mexico is a key part of our investment portfolio and will remain so for the future. Our current assets provide the core platform for growing our presence organically in the country. TC Energía also provides a vital link between producers and the markets where natural gas is needed for powering industries and homes in Mexico. Currently, our Business Unit in Mexico represents about 5 percent of our corporation. We are the largest Canadian investor in the country. I am very proud that the majority of TC Energía leaders are nationals, who put every effort in delivering the energy Mexico needs, safely and reliably.

Q: How does the South Texas-Tuxpan pipeline investment illustrate the alignment of the objectives of TC Energía and the new administration?

A: The South Texas pipeline is the most critical energy infrastructure project in Mexico and probably in Latin America in recent years. From an investment perspective, it was the largest single direct foreign investment source in 2017. The project enables Mexico to increase its natural gas import capacity by 40 percent and provides CFE with access to what currently are the lowest prices for this fuel. As mentioned by CFE, South Texas will supply natural gas to more than 14 power generation plants and important industrial markets in the Gulf of Mexico and central regions in the country. Through interconnections the project has the potential to supply natural gas to the Yucatan peninsula. South Texas will deliver economic growth and prosperity by creating jobs, promoting industrial development and providing a lower cost and more efficient fuel for environmentally friendly power generation.

Q: What would you highlight as the most prominent engineering and construction challenges in laying the South Texas-Tuxpan offshore pipeline?

A: The South Texas project is unique in so many ways from an engineering perspective. It is Mexico’s first large diameter offshore natural gas pipeline. At sea, we used specialized vessels with full-production lines to weld, test and lay the pipe on the seabed. The pipes themselves were coated with cement at a local plant to minimize buoyancy. We also constructed the largest natural gas compressor station in Mexico and the largest ever built by TC Energía for compressing natural gas from Altamira to Tuxpan, in northern Veracruz.

Q: What are the vital pipeline construction, operation and maintenance technologies that TC Energía has successfully introduced to Mexico?

A: We are very proud of our safety standards, which are at the top of the industry, and we apply them at every stage of the life of our pipelines. Our high standards have been key for successful operation not only in Mexico but across all three countries. Using cutting-edge technology, we monitor and inspect the performance of our pipelines. From a construction perspective, Mexico’s geography has pushed us to be innovative. For example, we used specially adapted helicopters or air-cranes to transport 10-ton pipe segments to mountain areas in Chihuahua; we used a gondola in steep cliff faces in the Huasteca Potosina for the Tamazunchale pipeline; and we adopted mining techniques like the raise bore for descending our pipeline inside a mountain on the border between Chihuahua and Sinaloa plus all the challenges that we successfully faced for South Texas. Constructing in these environments has been as challenging as it has been rewarding.


TC Energía, formerly TransCanada, is a leading North American energy infrastructure constructor. It operates a natural pipeline network stretching over 91,500km and was the first private operator in Mexico to build and operate gas pipelines.