Mexican state-owned energy giant Petroleos Mexicanos has awarded a contract to build a section of the Los Ramones natural gas pipeline to a consortium made up of Brazilian engineering group Odebrecht, Mexican construction company Arendal and Italian-Argentine group Techint.

The contract was awarded after a "painstaking analysis" to ensure the necessary "technical experience and capacity" to develop the Los Ramones Phase II North project in a timely and appropriate manner, Pemex said in a statement.

The company recalled that Tag Norte, whose shareholders are Tag Pipelines (a unit of Pemex Gas y Petroquimica Basica, the oil giant's gas and basic petrochemicals subsidiary), Gasoductos de Chihuahua and PMI Holdings, is responsible for developing that natural gas infrastructure project.

Phase I of this strategic project will link the northern Mexican border town of Camargo, located in Tamaulipas state, with Los Ramones, a municipality in the northern state of Nuevo Leon.

After voiding an auction for the project's entire Phase II, Pemex split that section of the pipeline into two parts: Los Ramones North and Los Ramones South.

Los Ramones Phase II North will involve construction of a 42-inch pipeline over a distance of 450 kilometers (280 miles) from Nuevo Leon to the adjacent central state of San Luis Potosi.

The Los Ramones pipeline, part of the Natural Gas Transport System, will stretch for more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and have the capacity to transport 2.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

It will help strengthen domestic industry, bolster electricity generation and improve natural gas distribution to residential and commercial sectors, Pemex said.

Total investment will amount to more than $1.2 billion, providing a strong boost to job creation in the five states the pipeline will traverse: Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro and Guanajuato, the company added.

The pipeline is scheduled to begin operating in December 2015.

EFE