Mexico embarks upon major
port modernization program
Mexico is working on a portfolio of nine port projects, all in Gulf Coast states, to meet the increased demand for logistics and supply ser- vices that is expected in coming years. That
demand is being driven by expectations of increased E&P
activity offshore Mexico, which is itself made possible
by the nation’s efforts to reform its energy market, and
new openness to international oil and gas investment.
Overall, Mexican authorities are investing about 48
billion pesos ($3.2 billion) in the projects, according to
information on the country’s Ministry of Transport and
Communications (SCT) website. “It’s necessary to prepare
Mexican ports for the current reforms such as in energy,”
Julio Martínez Hernández, president of the Mexican association of port infrastructure (AMIP) told BNamericas.
The ports of Matamoros and Altamira in Tamaulipas
state are preparing to meet demand from the energy
industry, while the ports of Veracruz, Coatzacoalcos
and Dos Bocas are preparing to meet demand from the
petrochemical industry, he said.
“Altamira port is very important, it has the capacity to
grow enormously, this port has 40,000 hectares of land
to be used,” Martínez Hernández noted. The expansion
of Altamira port will require around 10. 7 billion pesos,
according to the BNamericas report.
In addition to the port of Altamira, the city of Matamoros farther north is the shortest port by distance to the
country’s emerging deepwater province in the Perdido
foldbelt. The logistics needed to service and supply that
deepwater play will be important for PEMEX – which has
announced a number of deepwater discoveries in recent
months – but also for the companies that won blocks in
the country’s inaugural Round 1. 4 bid offering last December, including CNOOC Ltd., Chevron, and Total.
Another key player will be Australia’s BHP Billiton, which won
rights to partner with PEMEX to advance development of its key
deepwater Trion discovery in the region.
Supplies for PEMEX’s offshore operations have historically been
sent out of Tampico, farther south in Tamaulipas, but last year’s
Round 1. 4 process to award deepwater blocks has renewed interest
in Matamoros-based logistics.
Officials with the Port of Matamoros hope that their facility will become
the “first port for offshore deepwater operations” in Mexico. Their plans
are expressly targeted toward servicing the Cinturon-Plegado-Perdido
deepwater play, which lies just south of the US maritime border line. They
note that Matamoros is the nearest Mexican port to the Perdido area.
In 2015, the Mexican ports authority (CGPMyM) and SCT an-nounced plans to expand three ports on the Gulf of Mexico. This
included Matamoros as well as the ports of Seybaplaya and Ciudad del
Carmen in Campeche. A total of 2. 5 billion pesos was allocated in the
2015 federal budget for the development of strategic seaports. That
funding included an investment of $95 million at the Port of Matamoros
to build a dock capable of receiving the latest generation of vessels.
Development at the port of Matamoros is also expected to improve
links with the United States. The Port of Matamoros is already linked
with the Port of Brownsville in Texas via the Gulf Intracoastal Canal,
the second longest man-made inland canal in the world.
Meanwhile, Seybaplaya port in Campeche state, in the south of
Mexico, will satisfy the demand of national oil company PEMEX,
Martínez Hernández said, adding that approximately 188 million pesos
will be invested there. New docking berths and piers will be built at
Seybaplaya as part of general modernization at a cost of $5 million.
Meanwhile, Ciudad del Carmen will require an investment of 1. 1
billion pesos to modernize the entire port. Public works involve the
construction of 312 m of dock, according to local media reports.
Other ports to feature in the government’s strategic plans include
the port of Tuxpan, Veracruz, which will be converted for strategic
vehicles exports; and Tampico, in Tamaulipas, which will be converted
from an oil terminal to a tourism port.
Progreso port in Yucatán state is investing 1. 6 billion pesos to
modernize its facilities and build a new logistics platform.
Private groups are also investing in Mexico’s port infrastructure. Puer-
tos Integrales del Sureste S.A. de C.V. (PISSA), a Mexican subsidiary
of DPH Group, reports that its premises in the port of Altamira have
authorization from the port authority to provide integrated ser vices for
the offshore oil and gas industry. The authority has granted PISSA with
a 300-metric ton quayside base to serve marine activities.
PISSA also reports that it is developing a new facility in the Port of
Dos Bocas, Tabasco, located near the most important offshore and
onshore oil fields in the South of the Gulf of Mexico. Plans call for
the Dos Boca facility to contain seven acres of land and 3,000 sq m of
warehouses for storage and distribution of different types of cargoes,
supplies and machinery, as well as a storage yard for pipes, materials,
bulk and various fluids. •
Puertos Integrales del Sureste S.A. de C.V. reports that it is expanding its facilities at
three major ports along the Mexican Gulf Coast. (Courtesy PISSA)