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Infraestructura Energética Nova (IEnova) chairman Carlos Ruiz Sacristan and Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) CEO Manuel Bartlett have agreed to jointly work toward re-opening a section of IEnova’s Sonora natural gas pipeline in Western Mexico that has been inactive since August 2017, Ruiz Sacristan said last week.
CFE is Mexico’s state-owned power utility and the anchor customer of the Sonora pipeline, which includes the 503-kilometer (313-mile) Sásabe-Guaymas and 328-kilometer (204-mile) Guaymas-El Oro segments.
The Guaymas-El Oro segment remains shut amid a still-unresolved legal dispute with one of the area’s eight Yaqui indigenous communities. The other seven gave their blessing to the pipeline, which entered operation in 2017, but was subsequently sabotaged that same year by the dissenting Yaqui faction.
IEnova is the Mexican unit of U.S.-based Sempra Energy.
During IEnova’s fourth quarter earnings call last Thursday, Ruiz Sacristan told analysts that he and Bartlett had a “very cordial discussion about [Guaymas-El Oro]. We agreed with CFE that our priority is to work together to place this pipeline back into service.”
Bartlett and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called earlier this month for the renegotiation of several of CFE’s natural gas pipeline contracts, citing “unfair” take-or-pay clauses that force CFE to make fixed capacity payments to developers for delayed or inactive pipelines such as Guaymas-El Oro.
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