Project Description

Energy production is nationalized in Mexico under the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which is also responsible for strategic energy production planning based on demand, growth rates and new technologies, in order to ensure the electricity demands for the future. The construction of a liquefied natural gas regasification and storage terminal in Manzanillo harbor, on the Pacific coast of Mexico is now underway; this project is intended to provide electricity for the Western Region of the country, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure, including a power station, substations and the harbor facilities.

The project required the construction of a new sea terminal for receiving the liquefied natural gas from ships, plus facilities for its regasification, storage and distribution. The terminal will have a capacity of 500 million cubic feet per day and the total investment being made is 850 Million US Dollars.

Construction is being managed by Samsung Engineering and started in July 2008, with commercial start-up scheduled for mid-2011.

Project Requirements

The concrete for the project has special demands because the weather conditions in Manzanillo city include maximum temperatures above 30 °C for 90% of the year, together with very high relative humidity. Additionally the available concrete aggregates (coarse and fine) are mostly from local river sources with medium-to-low quality standards.

The concrete mix design specified for the high performance and durability required, included a maximum water cement ratio of w/c-ratio 0.40, a minimum cement content of 400 kg/m3; plus the mass concrete pours had to be placed all year round.

A stable mix and slump life were therefore major demands, particularly with the Granulated Slag Cement, 30 N, Sulphate Resistant, Low Alkali content (CPEG 30 RS BRA) that had to be used because of the type of environment and durability issues. This type of cement is traditionally demanding, because of potentially variable and delayed setting times, short slump life, a tendency to entrain air, plus very slow compressive strength development.

As the highest volume of this concrete is for structures to process, store and distribute natural gas, very high performance and quality control standards were necessary, with the following special durability testing also required:

  • Concrete samples were submitted to freeze - thaw cycling and then the compressive strength and dynamic elastic modulus was measured.
  • Concrete samples were frozen to cryogenic temperatures of below minus 150 °C, thawed and then the compressive strength and dynamic elastic modulus were measured again.

Sika Solutions

A ‘Tailor Made’ solution was clearly necessary and trials confirmed SikaPlast®-220, a new combination of Sika® ViscoCrete®, a ultra superplasticizer polycarboxylate (PCE) technology, blended with traditional plasticiser, was able to meet all of the demands. Sikament®-180 was added to precisely control the slump life when the summer weather conditions were particularly extreme and difficult.

Sika performed the special additional tests on the selected mix in our ‘State of the Art’ Central Laboratories at Zurich, in Switzerland, completing them in just 45 days to confirm that the results met or exceeded all of the project specifications.

With this solution, the concrete producers were able to maintain the w/c ratio of 0.40, with excellent cement dispersion, mix stability and accurate slump life. Finally SikaPlast® based on the Sika® ViscoCrete® technology fulfill all project requirements excellent.

Sika Products

In addition the following Sika products were used in the project

  • SikaPlast®-220
  • Sika® ViscoCrete®
  • Sikament®-180

Check out more information about Sika products in the Mexican market

Project Participants

Sika Client: Holcim Apasco Mexico
Owner: Federal Electricity Comission (CFE)
Main Contractor: Samsung Engineering
Investor: Samsung-Mitsui-Korea Gas (KMS)