Mexican state power utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) said Thursday it is developing a $4.5 billion project with energy ministry Sener and Sistrangas pipeline grid operator Centro Nacional de Control del Gas Natural (Cenagas) to expand natural gas access on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Yucatan

A CFE spokesperson told NGI’s Mexico GPI that the project in question is an expansion of the 2.6 Bcf/d Sur de Texas-Tuxpan offshore pipeline, which is jointly owned by TC Energy Corp. and Infraestructura Energética Nova, aka IEnova.

CFE in August said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with TC to develop the expansion project and to seek solutions to complete the stalled Tula-Villa de Reyes and Tuxpan-Tula pipelines. A TC spokesperson confirmed the contents of the MOU to NGI at the time, though it remained unclear as of Monday whether TC would indeed participate in the expansion.

The project will enable the supply of 120-400 MMcf/d on average to the gas-starved peninsula, according to CFE.

“This will allow CFE to transport natural gas from the basins of the southern United States to the Yucatán Peninsula, supplying existing and new power plants in Mérida and Valladolid as well as the new trans-Isthmus pipeline, and providing redundancy and operational flexibility to the Dos Bocas refinery in Tabasco,” CFE said.

The project will contribute to the economic and social development of southeastern Mexico, “with benefits in electricity rates and access to natural gas for the population,” the company added.

CFE also highlighted a 20 MMcf/d gas supply contract with New Fortress Energy Inc. for two CFE power plants in Baja California Sur, which is isolated from Mexico’s main pipeline networks. New Fortress will supply gas imported to its Pichilingue regasification terminal, which began commercial operations in July.

New Fortress supplies gas to the CT Punta Prieta and CCI Baja California Sur plants, CFE said, highlighting that both can run on diesel or natural gas.

The supply deal with New Fortress allows CFE to substitute diesel with cleaner burning natural gas, “reducing the impact of contaminant emissions in the zone.”

Wärtsilä to Supply 600 MW

In related news, Helsinki, Finland-based technology group Wärtsilä Corp. will supply two dual-fuel thermal power plants with combined capacity of 600 MW to CFE.

The projects comprise the 400 MW Mexicali Oriente power plant envisaged for Mexico’s Baja California state and the 200 MW Parque Industrial generating unit in Sonora state, said Wärtsilä.

Wärtsilä plans to complete the projects in phases during 2022 and 2023.

The projects together represent the largest engineering, procurement and construction contract ever awarded to Wärtsilä, the company said. 

The Mexicali Oriente plant will operate with 24 Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines, while the Parque Industrial plant will comprise 22 Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines. The engines will run primarily on natural gas with the capability to use liquid fuel as a backup if required, the company said. 

“During the summer months the plants will operate continuously, meeting the high electricity demand in the region,” when temperatures can exceed 50 degrees C (122 F).

Wärtsilä has delivered over 500 MW of generating capacity in Mexico to date.