TransCanada Corp. said Friday that it won a bid to build a 170 MMcf/d natural gas pipeline system in east-central Mexico. The 36-inch diameter, 78-mile Tamazunchale Pipeline will extend from the facilities of Pemex Gas near Naranjos, Veracruz and transport gas under a 26-year contract with Mexico’s Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) to a power plant near Tamazunchale, San Luis Potosi.

TransCanada said it expects the US$181 million project to be expanded in 2009 to 430 MMcf/d to meet the needs of two additional proposed power plants near Tamazunchale. The pipeline company said it will immediately begin construction and expects the system to be in service on Dec. 1, 2006.

TransCanada said the new natural gas-fired power plants coming online and other growth in natural gas demand are expected to grow the Mexican natural gas market, from 6 Bcf/d currently to about 9 Bcf/d in 2013. TransCanada said it expects to find other opportunities to invest in the country.

TransCanada was the project manager, operator and largest partner in the 435-mile Energia Mayakan natural gas pipeline project in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula — the first pipeline of its kind in Mexico to have been awarded to the private sector. TransCanada also was the project manager, operator and owner of the 124-mile El Bajio natural gas pipeline project. TransCanada sold its interests in these projects in 2000. Through its ownership in Gas Transmission Northwest, TransCanada owns the U.S. portion of the North Baja pipeline, which currently delivers gas to Baja California Norte.

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