DOS approves EA of Texas-Mexico product line

The US State Department has approved the EA of a proposed 10 3/4-in. gasoline and diesel export pipeline to be constructed by PMI Services North America from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico's Chihuahua state.

Aug 27th, 2008

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 27 -- The US Department of State has approved the environmental assessment of a proposed 10 3/4-in. gasoline and diesel export pipeline to be constructed by PMI Services North America from El Paso, Tex., to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico's Chihuahua state.

DOS, under authority of Executive Order 13337 of Apr. 30, 2004, may receive applications "for permits for the construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of facilities, including pipelines, for the exportation or importation of petroleum, petroleum products, coal, or other fuels at the border of the United States."

DOS said PMI Services, a subsidiary of Mexico's state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, applied in January for the Presidential permit to construct, connect, operate and maintain the products pipeline from the US to Mexico.

The proposed pipeline would originate at the Longhorn Partners pipeline terminal in eastern El Paso County and would extend to the San Elizario area, crossing the Rio Grande River into Ciudad Juarez, where it will extend an additional 21 miles to a Pemex terminal.

The line would have the capacity to supply the Pemex terminal with 45,000 b/d of European gasoline and diesel fuel, which would be imported at Houston and shipped to West Texas via the Longhorn Partners pipeline.

Mexico has seen increased demand for gasoline and diesel over the past year or so, and imports are on the upswing as its own refining system has not been able to keep pace.

The Pemex refinery system produced 1.5 million b/d of gasoline, diesel, and other fuels during January-July 2008, while imports of gasoline averaged 342,500 b/d, up 17.6% over January-July 2007.

Earlier this week, Pemex said the total volume of petroleum product imports in January-July rose to 555,100 b/d, on average, or 22.2% greater than such purchases during the 2007 January-July period, at a total cost of $14.08 billion (OGJ Online, Aug. 23, 2008).

DOS said the Frontera Juarez pipeline would displace trucks as the mode of delivery from the US to Mexico "with the proposed net effect of increasing safety and decreasing the negative impact to the local environment."

It said issuance of a Presidential permit authorizing construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the proposed Frontera Juarez pipeline would not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment within the US. As a result, it adopted a "Finding of no significant impact" and determined that an environmental impact statement will not be prepared on the PMI application.

According to Elizabeth Orlando, a State Department official who oversaw the project's environmental assessment, a presidential permit to allow the pipeline to cross the US-Mexico border could be issued in early September if no federal agencies object.

However, Texas State Rep. Chente Quintanilla (D-El Paso) said he will contact several federal agencies in hopes of convincing at least one of them to object to the presidential permit for the pipeline.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

More in Government