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Coatzacoalcos, energy capital of Mexico. Coatzacoalcos, energy capital of Mexico.

Economic zones sign up energy projects worth US $2.5 billion

Bulk of the money is going into Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz

Mexico’s special economic zones (SEZs) have signed agreements for energy projects worth US $2.5 billion, the executive secretary of the federal initiative has announced.

In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, Enrique Huesca said the Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz; Salina Cruz, Oaxaca; Dos Bocas, Tabasco; and Campeche SEZs will take the lion’s share of investment in the sector because they already boast energy infrastructure that was built by Pemex but is no longer used by the state oil company.

The ability to use existing infrastructure in those zones reduces costs for private companies and makes investment more attractive, he explained.

“Pemex left a quantity of infrastructure that can be reconfigured, which is very valuable . . .” Huesca said.

Coatzacoalcos, a port on the northern coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, has the “undoubted” capacity to become “the natural energy capital of Mexico” because of the number of projects planned for the city, he added.

Investment of $2.2 billion has been committed towards 21 projects in the Gulf Coast port, which in turn is expected to generate 10,000 jobs.

All told, the investment pledged for energy projects in the seven SEZs, which President Enrique Peña Nieto created by decree, account for 36% of all investment attracted so far.

Across all sectors, Huesca said, agreements representing more than $7.1 billion in investment have now been signed, and that Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, is leading the way with almost $3.2 billion committed to 12 projects, which are also expected to create 10,000 jobs.

Other investment secured so far includes $218 million for Progreso, Yucatán, creating 550 jobs; $200 million for Puerto Chiapas, creating 4,200 jobs; $550 million for Salina Cruz, creating 600 jobs; $100 million for Campeche, creating 500 jobs; and $120 million for Tabasco, creating 1,000 jobs.

Huesca highlighted that a lot of the SEZ cities haven’t received investment of such a large scale for many years.

The SEZ executive secretary also said he has kept the incoming federal government up to date about the progress of the planned projects, and informed future officials of the Secretariat of Finance about the rules and regulations of the special zones.

Earlier this year, Peña Nieto announced a 50-billion-peso government stimulus package to attract investment to the SEZs, which offers companies a zero tax rate for 10 years as well as other financial benefits.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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