Mexico reviewing 5-year natural gas expansion plan

Monday, July 25, 2016

Mexico is carrying out the first annual review of its 2015-19 natural gas transportation and storage plan, the outcome of which may lead it to fine-tune upcoming tendering processes.

The review is stipulated by the national gas control center (Cenagas) and being carried out by the energy ministry (Sener) with technical support provided by the energy regulatory commission (CRE).

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Last October, Mexico unveiled a US$10bn plan to expand its natural gas pipeline network by around 5,000km, with new infrastructure planned for 16 states, including Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Durango, Nuevo León, Oaxaca and Veracruz.

The expansion of the natural gas pipeline network aims to increase supply to all regions of the country and augment exports, which takes place in parallel to a conversion of power stations from fuel oil to natural gas by state utility CFE, aimed at lowering energy prices for customers and reducing CO2 emissions.

The annual review is designed to optimize the plan and, where necessary, modify the tendering processes for each project, as well as provide a status report on projects in development. The review will also identify which projects are a priority.

Sener lists seven pipeline projects already put out to tender that it describes as strategic: the San Isidro-Samalayuca pipeline, Samalayuca-Sásabe, Tuxpan-Tula, Tula-Villa de Reyes, Villa de Reyes-Guadalajara, La Laguna-Aguascalientes and Sur de Texas-Tuxpan.

The analysis includes four other strategic pipeline projects, which are Colombia-Escobedo, Ramones-Cempoala, Jáltipan-Salina Cruz and the El Cabrito compression station pipeline, in addition to the Lázaro Cárdenas-Acapulco natural gas pipeline and the Salina Cruz-Tapachula pipeline.

As well as reviewing the status of each project, the annual review also involves looking at supply, both domestic and imported, and demand, so that projects can be prioritized and a tender timeline can be established. Sener said it will rely on technical opinions from the CRE.

No details on when the review will be finished were disclosed.

The full document can be viewed here, in Spanish.