El Encino Topolobampo Gas Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

El Encino Topolobampo Gas Pipeline is an operating natural gas pipeline.


The pipeline runs from El Encino, Chihuahua to Topolobampo, Sinaloa, Mexico.

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Project Details


In 2012, pipeline operator TC Energy signed a 25-year contract with Mexico's Comision Federal de Electricidad for the $1.1 billion El Encino Topolobampo project. Construction of the pipeline started in 2012, and commercial operations began in June 2018.[3][4]

The El Encino-Topolobampo project crosses the Sierra Tarahumara to intersect with TC Energy's El Oro-Mazatlan Pipeline and form the El Encino-Mazatlán system. Gas supplied by the pipeline helps fuel the pre-existing Juan de Dios Bátiz Paredes power station in Topolobampo[5][6], the 911 MW Noroeste (Topolobampo II) and 779 MW Topolobampo III power stations (completed in 2019 and 2020, respectively), and the 300 MW José Aceves Pozos power station in Mazatlán.[7][8]

Technical description

The pipeline, operated by TC Energía, is 572 km (355 mi) long and 30 inches in diameter, with a capacity of 670 million cubic feet per day[1][9], or 6.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.


The El Encino Topolobampo pipeline has provoked opposition from indigenous Rarámuri communities in the state of Chihuahua, including several dozen villages within 3 kilometers of the pipeline's projected path. Mexican law requires that indigenous peoples be consulted before development of energy projects on their territory, but in the case of the El Encino Topolobampo pipeline, this process was only initiated in 2014, two years after the Mexican government signed its agreement with TC Energy, and it was only in January 2015 that Mexican officials first met with Rarámuri representatives to discuss the project at an assembly in Mogotavo.[10]

The Rarámuri communities of San Luis de Majimachi, Mogotavo, and Bosques de San Elías Repechique initiated legal proceedings to stop the pipeline in 2015[11], temporarily halting the project, which was already 95% complete. According to press reports, members of the indigenous community of San Elías Repechike were confronted with death threats in retaliation for their opposition to the project.[12]

By early 2017, TC Energy had negotiated an alternate route through San Ignacio de Arareco, clearing the way for the company to finalize the permitting process.[7]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Topolobampo Pipeline,", TC Energía website, accessed March 2021.
  2. "Sistema El Encino – Mazatlán". TC Energía. Retrieved 2022-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "TransCanada's EL Encino-Topolobampo Pipeline Commences Operation - Natural Gas Intelligence". Natural Gas Intelligence. July 23, 2018.
  4. "Nueva Era pipeline system begins commercial service, boosting US-to-Mexico gas supplies | S&P Global Platts". S&P Global. July 2, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "Lleva avance de 58% gasoducto en El Oro". Noroeste. November 16, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "TransCanada Northwestern Mexico Pipeline to Be Finished This Year,", NGI, May 19, 2017.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "TransCanada expects to finish El Encino-Topolobampo natgas pipeline by year's end,", Platts, May 16, 2017.
  8. "Servicio de Transporte de Gas Natural" (PDF). CFE Corporativo. 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Sistema El Encino – Mazatlán". TC Energía. Retrieved 2021-03-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Gasoducto CFE-TransCanada pone en riesgo a 70 pueblos Rarámuris,", Sin Embargo, January 25, 2016.
  11. "El Gasoducto El Encino – Topolobampo: El derecho a la consulta a los rarámuri,", CECCAM (Centro de Estudios para Cambio en el Campo Mexicano), June 2016.
  12. "Amagan de muerte a tarahumaras que rechazan gasoducto de TransCanada". La Jornada. February 28, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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