Mexico City, March 21 -- (IANS/EFE) President Felipe Calderon said Mexico has begun inviting bids for the Northwest Gas Pipeline, a conduit that will stretch for more than 2,000 km from the border with the US to the western city of Mazatlan and is expected to involve investment of roughly $3.5 billion.
"I have an announcement of interest not only to Zacatecas (the state where he was speaking) but to the entire country, which is the call for bids for the largest of the pipelines to be built over the next few years, the Northwest Gas Pipeline, as well as other natural gas distribution zones," Calderon said Monday.
He said that pipeline will "revolutionize the northern Pacific coast, especially Sinaloa state, which has no natural gas", the president said.
Calderon recalled that last year he unveiled a $10.5 billion plan for structural change in the country's natural gas market, including construction of a natural gas pipeline network in central Mexico and the creation of four gas distribution zones.
He said those projects included the Los Ramones gas pipeline, which will extend for some 1,000 km through the states of "Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, San Luis (Potosi), Guanajuato, Queretaro (and) Zacatecas".
The states of Jalisco and Aguascalientes also could link up to Los Ramones, which is expected to involve an investment outlay of roughly $2.5 billion.
Also Monday, Calderon announced a call for bids for four new gas distribution zones in Morelos, Veracruz, Michoacan and the western zone.
Those new zones, which will entail investment of some $800 million, will expand natural gas coverage to nearly 1 million new domestic and industrial consumers via a nearly 20,000-km network of pipelines.
Calderon made the announcement during a ceremony to launch construction of the first new pipeline in his natural gas development plan - the Zacatecas conduit, which will supply the fuel to a plant of Mexico's largest brewer, Grupo Modelo.
The Zacatecas pipeline, to be built at a cost of $110 million, will stretch for 165 km and transport 20 million cubic feet of natural gas daily in the short term.
Calderon said Mexico must promote natural gas consumption to spur industrialization and hailed the fuel for its reduced environmental impact relative to other energy sources and its high calorific value.
Last year, Mexico confirmed the existence of large - though difficult to access - shale gas deposits in northern and eastern states that could raise the country's natural gas reserves by up to six-fold.
Mexico is estimated to hold the world's fourth-largest shale gas reserves.
rd Published by HT Syndication with permission from MyNews Interactive Media.
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