Erickson Inc. has contracted with Group Desarrollo Infaestructura (GDI) to transport pipe via helicopter for a project by TransCanada’s Mexican subsidiary, Transportadora de Gas del Noreste in Mexico. They will use an S-64 E Aircrane to transport over 1,000 natural gas pipeline segments that will complete the 329-mile Topolobampo project.
TransCanada expects to invest $1 billion in the project which is supported by a 25-year contract with Mexico’s national electric company, CFE. The 30-inch pipeline will be 329 miles long and have contracted capacity of 670 MMcf/d.
The route begins in El Encino in the state of Chihuahua and ends in Topolobampo in the state of Sinaloa. Along the route, the terrain is rugged and mountainous with minimal ground access. Transporting pipe segments by helicopter from a centralized staging area to multiple sites along the pipeline will reduce transit time and avoid road construction. Access roads are inaccessible for equipment and pipe segments needed, and the helicopter allows for a more efficient project timeline. The project is expected to begin service in the second quarter of 2016.