Manzanillo Bay, the port, and the power plant in the backgroundPlans for a New & Better
(and less polluting)
Power Plant

(Translated  from "El Noticiero,"
one of Manzanillo's local newspapers,
by Carlos Cuellar)

Please click on photos to enlarge


Manzanillo, and the power plant spewing pollutionCFE—Comision Federal de Electricidad translates into Federal Commission of Electricity, and in their ongoing quest of keeping the public informed had a lengthy and somewhat complicated article in a recent publication that I am taking the liberty to downsize and put into layman’s terms.

In accordance with Mexico’s Energy Policy the ability to generate electrical power with the use of natural gas is imperative and permits us to diversify our sources of energy.  This very manageable resource permits us to work with it in some varied and out of the way places, and due to its utilization of combined cycles we are able to realize a greater amount of energy from one single resource. Also, and very important, due to the fact that it burns much cleaner than “combustoleo” this will guarantee that it will emit much less pollution into our atmosphere.  

The area where the second port is being built, Channel de TepalcatesAccording to the CFE, natural gas is essential in order for the “Sistema Electrico Nacional” to function, and for the economic prosperity of the country.  For these reasons, the “CFE,” within the parameters of the Program of Public Works for the Electrical Sector, considers amongst other works, the construction of the Proyecto Terminal de Gas Natural Licuado en Manzanillo (TGNLM), State of Colima, that will receive, store, and regasify liquid natural gas.  With the (TGNLM), we will assure the resurgence of the Complejo Termoelectrico Manzanillo (CTM), substituting the “combustoleo” that it is currently burning for natural gas, and in that manner addressing the demands of the local residents to diminish the amounts of negative emissions in the atmosphere and thereby improving the quality of our environment. 

Early last year when the storage tanks were being built Also, it will permit us to deliver natural gas to new thermo-electrical plants that will be constructed in central Mexico, and to others that  are currently in operation, by means of the National Network of Pipes, which will also notice a resurgence in its productivity. The output or capacity for production for this TGNLM will be 1,000 million cubic feet daily (MMPCD) of natural gas in its gaseous state. This project will be developed in the following manner:

The first phase contemplates the construction of two storage tanks for Liquid Natural Gas with the capacity for 165,000 M ³ in each one and the ability to supply 500 MMPCD; Second phase will add a third tank of 165,000 M ³ of LNG which will increment our output to 1,000 MMPCD that will permit us to confront any natural emergency of a climactic or logistical nature without an interruption in delivery of power.

Main prot of Manzanillo and the Pemex dockWith regards to our selection of the site for our project, we had originally selected a location near the thermo-electrical plant of Manzanillo, in the Lagoon of Cuyutlan, (Vaso I), where technically, economically, safety-wise, and environmentally, this project was very feasible. We did, however (the CFE) pay heed to the demands of the local residents of Manzanillo, and their perception of a more secure ambience for their suburbs.  To alleviate their concern, we have moved our project to the Canal de Tepalcates. 

Therefore, the site for the construction of the Terminal for Liquid Natural Gas will be in the Lagoon of Cuyutlan (Vaso II), adjacent to the right flank of the Channel of Tepalcates, 12 km south of the Port of Manzanillo in the state of Colima, on the west coast of Mexico. Currently, the access is via the Manzanillo-Campos road that also joins Federal Hwy. 200 Colima-Manzanillo. It also counts with railroad tracks that are adjacent to the site and that hook up to the Guadalajara-Manzanillo route that currently supplies the thermo-electrical plant with its “combustoleo”. The coordinates for this site are the following: 19 º 01 ´ 09.87 ́́́ ́ North Latitude, and 104 ˚ 15 ´ 31´´ West Longitude. 

The CFE, wishing to maintain open its options with regard to design and construction of the TGNLM presents the following three plans for your consideration and they are assigned the following titles: Base Plan, Alternate Plan 1 and Alternate Plan 2 “Omega.” For any one of them the basic construction for the plans of the development of the TGNLM are (system for receiving LNG; system for storing and delivering LNG; system for vaporizing, measuring, regularizing and controlling of natural gas; the network of pipes from the TGNLM to the CTM; Base Plan will require 202 hectareas, Alternate Plan 1 occupies 165.18 hectareas and Plan 2 “Omega” 234.39 hectares. (1 hectarea equals 2.47 acres). The site selection and the construction plans were derived after exhaustive studies into the technological, economical, environmental and social impact in the community and at all times we have taken into account the development not only of the city but also of the state as well.

The CFE has performed environmental hydrodynamic studies that show us that, aside from the fact that the lagoon is on the final part of its natural evolutionary cycle, it has been altered significantly by human intervention. And although the present conditions are such that the quality of the water is good and the fish life is adequate, it is barely enough to provide the livelihood for a handful of families who live from the lagoon. Also, the mangrove trees that are present in Vasos III and IV do not exhibit any detrimental effects from man’s presence.

Along with the environmental and hydrodynamic studies, we also performed studies of the grounds: hydrological, geological, and seismic, in order to design the proper construction for the TGNLM, and this, along with the experience acquired in building these types of terminals throughout the world, ensures that we will have a safe and secure TGNLM.

The construction of any of these 3 plans of the TGNLM will have an impact on the environment particularly during the initial phase of preparation to build. From the aperture of a canal for the navigation of the container ships into the lagoon and the new port facilities, to the dredging and positioning of the new harbor and docks, all this will alter the flow and sometimes direction and speed of flow, particularly in Alternate Plan 2.

Based on the preliminary tests conducted (CRETI), on the sediments extracted from the area of the future canal and of material that is not reusable in the construction, this extraneous material will be discarded in waters of medium depth where there will be no negative impact on the marine environment. The quality and characteristics of the water in the Cuyutlan Lagoon System, after the construction, will be similar to that of the neighboring coast line and will maintain at least its current levels of quality.

The environmental impact during the phase of construction is minimized and there will be no negative impact on the lagoon system that can’t be foreseen and prevented.

During the phase of operation there are minor impacts to the fishing activity directly in front of us due to boating and fishing restrictions. These impacts are greatly offset by the benefits of a constant flow of fresh sea water to the Lagoon of Cuyutlan. The movement of fresh sea water at high tide will rejuvenate the lagoon's entire eco system, and with our supplying the thermo-electric plant with Natural Gas they will be able to convert from “combustoleo,” and we will see a great improvement in our atmosphere.

A special thanks goes to John Frost who has been taking aerial photos of Manzanillo for almost 30 years. John was honored recently by the mayor's cultural commission in Manzanillo for donating more than 200 aerial photos to the city's archives.