Infrastructure Updates

New Mexico Gas Company is committed to infrastructure upgrades that promote safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to the communities we serve. Here are a few current and recent projects.

Santa Fe Mainline Loop

New Mexico Gas Company is “looping” the Santa Fe Mainline by installing a new 20-inch pipeline along the route of the existing 12-inch line. The new 20-inch pipeline will increase the capacity of available natural gas to northern New Mexico customers, boosting service reliability and providing for future economic growth in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Espanola, Taos, Questa, Red River and other communities.

The pipeline will follow a 35-mile route along the Interstate 25 corridor from Bernalillo to Santa Fe. Construction will begin in May 2020 and the new pipeline is expected to go into service in early winter 2020.

The route that was selected for the Santa Fe Loop is accessible and the cost is considerably lower than alternatives, so the project will provide savings to customers. The selected route also has less environmental impact compared with alternatives and looping the existing pipeline will ease routine maintenance and operations.

To see a video about our preparation for the project, click here.

Taos Mainline Re-Route 

Natural gas began flowing March 15, 2018, through the new 12-inch Taos Mainline in the Rio Grande Gorge south of Taos.

Pipeline installation was completed and New Mexico Highway 68 was fully reopened at the end of February. Next came integrity testing, cleaning and finally the new pipeline was welded to the existing mainline and commissioned in mid-March.

It was a complex project in a challenging location and New Mexico Gas Company salutes our contractor and company team members for their commitment to safety. It is a source of great pride that we completed the work with no injuries.

During the 1960s, the Taos Mainline was installed on the west side of the Rio Grande between Rinconada and Pilar. Because of shifting soils, our engineers decided to move the pipeline to the east side of the river in the right-of-way of Highway 68. 

The Taos Mainline delivers natural gas to customers in Taos, Questa, Red River and surrounding communities.  
 

Taos Ski Valley Line Extension

Discussions about this project started in 2014. Property owners were interested in extending natural gas, electric, telephone and fiber optic cabling services to Taos Ski Valley and the surrounding areas in a joint trenching effort.  

The project gained final approval in September 2015. Crews installed a distribution backbone consisting of 10 miles of 6-inch pipeline along New Mexico Highway 150 from Arroyo Seco to Taos Ski Valley. The two-lane road rises in elevation from 7,634 feet to 9,207 feet. 

Construction stopped for the winter season but resumed in April 2016 and was completed by the end of 2016.

 

Rio Puerco 

New Mexico Gas Company installed 15 miles of 24-inch pipeline to connect the Albuquerque metro area distribution system to the interstate transmission pipelines which cross the state. The new line runs parallel to our existing 16-inch pipeline, which adds natural gas transmission capacity to our system. Rio Puerco dig and large pipe.

Before operation, we performed pressure testing where nearly 1 million gallons of water was pumped into the new line to confirm its integrity. Disposing of this much water can be a challenge but our teams developed an earthen stock tank to contain the water. The pond provided a solution to the disposal of test water and a long-term benefit to area ranchers by providing water for cattle.   

The project boosted system transmission capacity into the central Rio Grande corridor by more than 60 percent. By improving infrastructure in the Albuquerque area, we are better positioned to support future industrial or manufacturing facilities.

And by establishing a loop, New Mexico Gas Company now has greater flexibility in delivering natural gas to residential and commercial customers in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe corridor and across all of northern New Mexico, boosting system reliability.

The Rio Puerco project was a relatively large effort for NMGC, both in scope and budget. Projects of this size are typically undertaken by our company every five to 10 years. As we continue to provide safe, reliable service to our customers, this additional capacity provides the opportunity for future system growth and further reinforces our system capabilities.