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MEXICO CITY, July 21 (Reuters) - Mexico's national power company CFE said on Monday it will offer $2.8 billion in natural gas and electricity infrastructure project contracts by the end of this year aimed at boosting economic growth.
The projects include two combined-cycle power plants, two natural gas pipelines as well as an electricity transmission project, all located near Mexico's northern border with the United States.
The scheme is designed to boost natural gas imports from the U.S. and over time help lower electricity rates via cheaper inputs and more modern power infrastructure.
Companies including IEnova, the Mexican unit of U.S. energy firm Sempra Energy, South Korea's KEPCO and France's GDF Suez are widely expected to compete for the contracts.
CFE Chief Executive Enrique Ochoa said the contracts will be open to private firms in international public tenders and the projects are expected to enter into operation by 2017.
The combined-cycle Norte III power plant located about 19 miles (30 km) south of the border city of Ciudad Juarez will cost about $1 billion. It will feature installed capacity of 928 megawatts, and the winning bid will be announced in December.
The combined-cycle Guaymas II power plant located in northwestern Sonora state will cost about $822 million and feature installed capacity of 714 megawatts. The winning bid will be announced in December.
The 263 mile (423 km) Encino-La Laguna natural gas pipeline will transport gas from southern Texas and supply northern Chihuahua and Durango states. It will cost about $650 million and the winning bid will be announced in October.
The Huasteca-Monterrey transmission line will cover 268 miles (432 km) crossing northern Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon states and include two substations. It is set to cost about $257 million, and the winning bid will be announced in November.
Meanwhile, the 14 mile (23 km) San Isidro-Samalayuca natural gas pipeline will transport gas from southern Texas to the new Norte III power plant in Chihuahua state. It will cost about $50 million and the winning bid will be announced in December. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Richard Chang)