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Sep 18 2020

Sur de Texas – Tuxpan 1st Anniversary

Posted by TC Energy


On the morning of September 17, 2019, following several months of negotiations with Mexico’s state power company, CFE, and with the country’s federal government including Mexico’s president himself, the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan marine pipeline (SDTT) went in-service, becoming one of the most critical energy infrastructure projects in the history of Mexico.

Also known as the “marine pipeline,” Sur de Texas was awarded to Infraestructura Marina del Golfo (IMG), a partnership between TC Energy and IEnova in 2016. The pipeline is 497 miles (800 kilometres). It runs from the US/Mexico border at Brownsville, Texas, to Tuxpan, Veracruz and has a capacity to deliver 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily.

With an investment of approximately USD $2.6 billion dollars and the creation of more than 3,000 jobs during the construction phase, this project represented one of the largest foreign direct investment in Mexico in 2017.

SDTT is extremely important to the country as industrial consumption increases, and power plants migrate from fuel oil to natural gas. It is estimated that at its maximum capacity, the gas pipeline will increase Mexico’s natural gas import by 40 per cent which can help to compensate the increasing demand from private and public customers in the country.

“SDTT is a pipeline that fills us with pride because it was through a long process of perseverance, resilience, teamwork, innovation and culture that we succeeded in building and now operating, one of the most ambitious projects for TC Energy and Mexico,” said Robert Jones, President TC Energía.

A look back at the construction phase

For Darryl Sandquist, SDTT Director, many challenges had to be overcome during the construction phase: hurricanes in 2016, landowner permit agreements, safety and quality.

“We accomplished many firsts on this project: first private investment offshore pipeline in Mexico, first offshore pipeline for TC Energy, a world record micro-tunnel protecting the sensitive mangroves, the largest greenfield compressor station built by TC to name a few,” notes Darryl.

Every project provides a learning opportunity that can be carried forward to the next one.  Whether that learning is constructability of the Altamira compressor station being taken forward to the similar units on Coastal Gaslink or leadership skills developed by our project engineers in the field, we are always striving to do better. Specifically, the Pursuit of Excellence program has been brought forward to Coastal Gaslink as the Extraordinary Legacy program and we are seeing positive results delivered.”

Darryl Sandquist
TC Energy, SDTT Director

One year of achievements

Sur de Texas has enabled our client, Mexico’s state power company, CFE, access to the most economic source of natural gas in the world. As a result of this, we have also seen increasing flows in our own Tamazunchale pipeline, that brings gas from the gulf coast to central Mexico, which has more than doubled from 300 mmcfd to 700 mmcfd.

The connection between Sur de Texas to the Tamazunchale system also consolidated TC Energia’s position a key player in Mexico’s energy sector. The combined length of both systems provides around 1,220 km (nearly 760 mi.) of natural gas pipeline from Brownsville, Texas to Pedro Escobedo, Querétaro – in the industrial heart of the country. “We see both systems as a whole, and the operation requires us greater precision to ensure the pressure throughout the entire system for the safe and reliable supply to all our clients in Mexico,” notes Ulises Arévalo, Mexico Gas Control Manager.

“SDTT is a highlight of my life, both personally and professionally. The lasting relationships I made and experience gained through the execution of such an amazing project will be with me forever. It was an honor to lead the development of such an important piece of infrastructure for the country of Mexico on behalf of TC Energy,” Sandquist says. 


About Sur de Texas – Tuxpan pipeline

  • 700 km (435 miles) of underwater pipeline was laid, that represents almost the 90 per cent of the pipeline.

  • 72 km (45 miles) of pipeline inland

  • An underground micro tunnel of 2.2 km (1.4 miles) in length and 3.2 meters in diameter. A milestone in engineering and the longest of its type in the world.

  • 4 crossings with the Horizontal Directional Drilling technique (HDD) to protect the surrounding ecosystem.

  • A compressor station with a 132,000 hp and 101 megawatts (MW) of power, is the largest in Mexico and the largest ever constructed by TC Energy.

  • A pressure control station and two metering stations