If approved, the project would create 500 temporary jobs and provide royalties to a variety of landowners in Arizona.
By Keith Rosenblum
Inside Tucson Business
Plans are proceeding on a massive project to make natural gas available throughout northern Mexico even though it hinges at least in part on getting regulatory approval from U.S. authorities to run a connecting pipeline through Arizona.
The hope is that President Felipe Calderón will preside at ceremonies in Mexico inaugurating an 800-mile grid prior to his leaving office Dec. 1, according to Dr. Enrique Velasco Ibarra, assistant director of Modernization and New Areas of Opportunities for Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). Velasco also said Mexico’s Secretary of Energy Jordy Herrera intends to visit Washington, D.C., next month to emphasize the importance of the project to both the U.S. and Mexico.
Crucial to the proposed natural gas network is approval of a 60-mile pipeline in Southern Arizona that would go from Picture Rocks, northwest of Tucson, south through sparsely populated parts of Pima County to the twin border towns of Sasabe. Tiny Sasabe, Ariz., has a population of just 54, according to the 2010 Census, while the town on the Sonora side has a population of about 2,500.
The gasline project is being spearheaded in the U.S. by Kinder Morgan Inc., which says it’s in a “pre-filing” mode, That means a formal application has not yet been submitted and any decision would be about 18 months off. In May this year, Kinder Morgan acquired the pipeline operations of El Paso Natural Gas as part of $21 billion deal.