CALGARY - TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) plans to invest about US$1 billion in a new natural gas pipeline in Mexico.

The Calgary-based pipeline giant announced Thursday that it has been awarded a contract to build, own and operate the pipeline by Mexico's federal power company, the Comision Federal de Electricidad or CFE.

The 530-kilometre-long El Encino-to-Topolobampo pipeline will have a contracted capacity of 670 million cubic feet per day and is supported by a 25-year natural gas transportation services contract.

"Mexico's government is engaged in a comprehensive plan to expand the nation's electrical grid and generating capacity and much of that generation will be natural gas fired," TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling said in making the announcement.

"This award is another example of TransCanada's commitment to help develop Mexico's energy infrastructure in a sustainable and cost-efficient manner."

The Topolobampo pipeline begins in El Encino, in Chihuahua state, and terminates in Topolobampo, in Sinaloa state, interconnecting with other pipelines that are expected to be built as a result of separate bid processes by the CFE.

Girling said TransCanada is bidding on a number of CFE proposals. The company has already built and is operating the Guadalajara and Tamazunchale pipelines and will soon break ground on a Tamazunchale pipeline extension.

TransCanada operates a network of natural gas pipelines that extends more than 68,500 kilometres and tap into virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. It is also developing one of North America's largest oil delivery systems.

The company began work this summer on a US$2.3-billion crude pipeline connecting an oil storage hub at Cushing Okla., to Texas refineries. It's expected to start up in mid to late 2013.

The Gulf Coast pipeline was initially part of TransCanada's $7.6-billion Keystone XL proposal, which would have sent Alberta crude to the Gulf via six U.S. states but has been held up by political and environmental wrangling in the United States.

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  • 10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP

    The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>

  • 9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980

    Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed

    Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.

    Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves

    Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>

  • 5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.

    One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry

    Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands

    Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

  • 2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat

    Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?

    The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.