Natural Gas coming to the Yucatan at last

Photo: YA

The new postponement of another urgent infrastructure under the AMLO administration: that of a Merida urban drainage that cares for the future of the largest water reserve in Mexico.

Every time the president travels to Yucatán, which happens at least every three months, evidence of the connection he has with the state’s governor Mauricio Vila Dosal.

The case is atypical in the case of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a Morenista; and Mauricio Vila Dosal, a PAN member. But in terms of charisma, convenience, or whatever it is, things go well between the two. Now comes the element that was missing for the region: natural gas.

Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila have more industry than the southern states because they are close to the United States, but also because they have access that hydrocarbon.

It not only serves to burn it and with its heat produce materials such as steel, glass, or cement, but also because its combustion generates electricity. More than half of what Mexicans use, by the way. In Yucatan that resource is scarce until now… but not anymore.

The CFE, led by Manuel Bartlett, revealed an agreement with the French Engie, an “agreement that will allow the parties to agree on the technical and commercial terms for the execution of an expansion of the Mayakan gas pipeline.” It is a pipeline of more than 700 kilometers that connects Tabasco with Yucatán, passing through Campeche.

Why right now? Because it is urgent. Two new combined cycle electricity generation plants that will use gas were announced at the beginning of the year by the CFE; they will be built by Mitsubishi Power.

Together they represent an investment of some 1.2 billion US dollars that will add 1,530 megawatts of capacity to a state that today requires some 900 megawatts.

These will add to another 200 megawatts of wind and solar power generation installed capacity over the past five years.

But new demand is on the way. Only foreign direct investment in Yucatán went from 66 million to 515 million US dollars from 2021 to the first nine months of 2022, according to data from the federal government.

A sign of what is to come for this peninsular state is very close to Paseo de Montejo, at its exit to the port of Progreso.

There, to the north of Mérida, the United States government is building a huge consulate that required an investment of 150 million dollars, an amount equivalent to the one recently inaugurated in Monterrey, for example.

Local politicians talk that although this new building will issue visas, the infrastructure has greater purposes.

Yucatan becomes a strategic point in the security relationship that North America has with Central America.

The consul in charge of the project was Courtney Beale, who previously dealt with global security affairs in the White House, in a direct relationship with President Barack Obama. Today she is Antony Blinken’s executive assistant in the State Department.

Beale was succeeded by now Consul Dorothy Ngutter, a diplomat who previously served as director of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Section at the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, managing border justice and security sector programs. Useful knowledge on the southern border and in Quintana Roo, a state plagued by organized crime.

Apart from the strategic political relevance of Yucatán, the expansion of its Progreso port –already committed by the Secretary of the Navy– will provide Mexico with the first robust peninsular exit to the northeast of the United States and to Europe, which should initially convert that location in the headquarters of the largest shipyard in the Americas, after a promise from the Italian company Fincantieri to install a shipbuilding center there (which is already under construction).

The two combined cycle plants and the expansion of the gas pipeline agreed upon between the state and federal leaders should add new opportunities, to the region.

TYT Newsroom