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New gas line inaugurated

The 692-Km Mayakan gas pipeline, located in Mexico’s Yucután Peninsula, was inaugurated in November in a ceremony attended by Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, Energy Secretary Luis Tellez, Commerce Secretary Herminio Blanco and Yucatán Governor Víctor Cervera.

The pipeline was sponsored by the firms Gutsa of Mexico, Transcanada Pipeline of Canada and Intergen of the United States. It was built by Bechtel of the U.S. With a total capacity of 370 million cubic feet per day, it will be the second largest in the country.

The project was developed by the private company Energía Mayakán with the help of a $68.75 million IDB loan as well as a special $142 million loan consisting of subscription agreements with the IDB by commercial banks. The project was the first large “build-own-operate” concession under Mexico’s new regulatory framework for the natural gas sector.

 Although the state company PEMEX holds the monopoly on production and primary sales of gas, recently enacted legal reforms make it possible for private companies to construct, own and operate pipelines.

The gas will be used in five existing plants that will be converted to natural gas and three new plants that will be built, for a total generating capacity of l,627 megawatts. The fuel will also be used by local industries. Natural gas is a cheaper and less polluting fuel than oil, and one result of the switchover will be reduced emissions of hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides and particles.

Energy demand in the Yucatán Peninsula is growing by 7 percent annually, the fastest rate of any region in the country.

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