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A generation of giants makes its appearance at the Southeast Gateway Project in Mexico

Published 18.1.2024

These massive pieces of equipment are the turbochargers, the heart of the Compression Station in Tuxpan.


The Southeast Gateway Project (SGP) undertaken by Techint Engineering & Construction for TC Energy is making steady progress: both the supply management and engineering phases have been completed and work is currently underway to build the Compression Station, located in Tuxpan, Veracruz, the scene of the reception of the turbochargers. 

“These huge pieces of equipment represent the heart of the Compression Station, which will pump gas from Tuxpan to Paraíso in Tabasco. Their arrival marks the fulfillment of one of the key stages of this emblematic project. We are now able to begin the mechanical and assembly phases, involving higher activity levels as well as multiple electromechanical phases,” commented Mauricio Orta, Operations Analyst. 

The four Solar Titan™130 turbochargers were transported by land all the way from the factory in San Diego, California, USA, to the city of Tuxpan in Veracruz. The maneuvers undertaken to assemble the equipment were the largest and most complex in the entire project, as each Compression Unit requires the assembly of over 150 tons of turbine, compressor and accessories. 

In order to bring in the equipment, several adjustments had to be made to the access road running from the Tuxpan-Tamiahua highway to the Compression Station. The team also had to ensure all the foundations were complete by specific deadlines established in the work program in order to be able to assemble the equipment. 

Casting the cement foundations for the four turbochargers was carried out during October 2023, while the mechanical assembly of the equipment was completed at the beginning of November. 

“The whole exercise was only possible thanks to the superior quality of the logistics and enormous effort of all those involved,” acknowledged César Durán, Landfall Project Manager.  

With the assembly of the first pieces of equipment for this project, Diego García, Project Manager, pointed out that, “the layout of the worksite is beginning to change, obliging us to reinforce work to coordinate the various construction and support disciplines required to meet the next series of objectives.” 

Upcoming challenges 

The piping phase of the Compression Station began a few weeks ago, kicking off with the Pipe Prefabrication Workshop, where the priority is laying the underground piping before continuing with next stages of construction. 

As regards the Landfall, the onshore pipe connecting with the offshore pipe, the earthworks, sheet piling and civil works for the Launch Pit, have already been completed. 

Other project milestones included the arrival of the 56” pipe, as well as the arrival of the pipe thrusters and the complete drilling system from Germany.

Currently, work is underway to weld the 56” Landfall pipe casing, a well as install and assemble the bentonite sludge system and the pipe thrusters, which will be used to direct and launch the pipes forming the pipeline into the sea. 

“We are working on the mechanical part of the platform, which is the Direct Pipe Installation, an innovative technological solution in the pipeline world. This system enables us to lay pipes in any type of terrain, as it combines the advantages of micro tunnel and HDD technology, allowing for both installation and excavation work to be carried out at the same time in a way that is much safer than traditional methods. This is actually one of the most challenging phases in the project, as Techint E&C will be implementing it for the first time,” said César Durán.

Due to the criticality of this phase and its impact on the customer's overall project, “a large part of our team is involved with completing all the activities prior to the start of drilling,” added Diego García.  

Likewise, the plan is to execute the Tie In, which is the work to connect the 21-km pipeline (built by Techint E&C) between the EMRYC “Montegrande” and the “Veracruz Norte” Compression Station (also built by Techint E&C). According to Mauricio Orta, “this phase contemplates the need for the customer to shut down plant operations before the subsequent commissioning of the SGP.”

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