Honduras Expects to Join Expanded Mexico-Guatemala Gas Pipeline


TEGUCIGALPA, March 3 (Reuters) - A gas pipeline between Mexico and Guatemala is likely to be extended to reach Honduras, helping the Central American country to become more competitive with cheaper energy, Honduran President Juan Hernandez said on Tuesday.

The 600-km (370-mile), $1.2 billion gas pipeline was announced by Guatemala in January 2014.

Writing on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Hernandez said the project was likely to be extended to reach Honduras.

"I've asked for Honduras to be incorporated as a full partner in the Mexico-Guatemala gas pipeline; we'll sign the agreement on March 13," he wrote.

The cost to extend the pipeline to Honduras would be between $380 million and $400 million, Jorge Ramon Hernandez, the country's chief government coordinator, told reporters, adding that it was not immediately clear how it would be financed.

The project could be paid for privately or with government and private money, he added, noting that Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador were all interested in investing in the project.

Hernandez said Honduras would join the pipeline project under the auspices of a Central American plan, known as the "Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle," which aims to help a region wracked by violence and poverty.

A wave of Central American migrants, many of them women and children, flocked to the southern U.S. border last year, overwhelming the border infrastructure and causing a political crisis for U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Central American plan was drawn up in response to the crisis, and the White House has since proposed $1 billion in the 2016 fiscal budget for the region.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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