El Encino Topolobampo Gas Pipeline

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This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy.

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

  • Operator: TransCanada México
  • Parent Company: TransCanada Corporation
  • Current capacity:
  • Proposed capacity: 6.9 billion cubic meters per year
  • Length: 348 miles / 560 km
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 2018


In 2012, pipeline operator TransCanada 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 is scheduled for completion in 2018. The El Encino-Topolobampo project crosses the Sierra Tarahumara to intersect with TransCanada's El Oro-Mazatlán Pipeline and form the El Encino-Mazatlán system. Gas supplied by the pipeline will help fuel the existing 230 MW Topolobampo power plant[1], the new Topolobampo II (778 MW) and Topolobampo III (777 MW) slated for completion in 2019-20, the Juan de Dios Batiz Paredez power plant in Ahome (320MW) and the Jose Aceves Pozos power plant in Mazatlán.[2]

The pipeline was commissioned in June 2018.[3]

Technical description

The pipeline, operated by TransCanada Mexico, is 560 km (348 mi) long and 30 inches in diameter, with a capacity of 670 million cubic feet per day[4], 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 TransCanada, and it was only in January 2015 that Mexican officials first met with Rarámuri representatives to discuss the project at an assembly in Mogotavo.[5]

The Rarámuri communities of San Luis de Majimachi, Mogotavo, and Bosques de San Elías Repechique initiated legal proceedings to stop the pipeline in 2015[6][7], temporarily halting the project, which was already 95% complete. By early 2017, TransCanada had negotiated an alternate route through San Ignacio de Arareco, clearing the way for the company to finalize the permitting process.[2]

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