Mexico
Feature

Spotlight: Mexico's LNG project pipeline

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Mexico's LNG export pipeline is growing at a quick pace, with several new projects having been added this year.

Since March, when the country had five projects in development on the Pacific coast, it has added three more and made significant advancements with the existing suite.

All of the new projects are located on the Atlantic coast, which looks increasingly more attractive as Europe looks to diversify its long-term natural gas supply sources after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

High international prices and Mexico's proximity to Texan gas, with available transport capacity in place, have transformed the Mexican natural gas landscape over the past year – and developers and state-owned firms are increasing their LNG bets.

BNamericas takes a detailed look at the new projects, as well as providing an update for the country’s entire LNG export pipeline.

Atlantic coast:

Altamira 

US-based New Fortress Energy (NFE) and federal power utility CFE are partnering up to build an offshore LNG export hub off the coast of Altamira, Tamaulipas state.

Up to three floating liquified natural gas (FLNG) barges will be built on site. With each barge having a 1.4Mt/y processing capacity, the project could reach a total capacity of 4.2Mt/y, with the first barge expected to be deployed next year.

According to New Fortress, the deal permits CFE to utilize available capacity at the 2.6Bf3/d (billion cubic feet per day) Sur de Texas-Tuxpan marine pipeline. It will also allow CFE to sell a portion of the project's output on the international markets.

Lakach

The revival of the long-dormant Lakach deepwater gas field off Veracruz has a strong LNG component, again being developed by NFE.

In a partnership with national oil company Pemex, expectations are to produce 300Mf3/d (million cubic feet per day) at the field over 10 years starting in 2024. 

NFE will invest US$1.5bn to start developing Lakach in exchange for a fee for every gas unit delivered to Pemex. Up to 190Mf3/d of the output will then be sold back to the US firm, which plans to liquefy the volume through a floating LNG production hub and sell it on the international market. An initial 1.4Mt/y of LNG production capacity will eventually be expanded to 7Mt/y, the company has said.

Coatzalcoalcos

The newest project in the LNG pipeline is being helmed by CFEnergía, CFE's gas trading arm.

The company is looking for expressions of interest regarding the construction of a natural gas liquefaction facility at Coatzalcoalcos port (Veracruz state), aimed at utilizing available capacity it has contracted in pipelines across Mexico and the US.

The selected firm will develop, build and operate a 4.5Mt/y LNG facility that will sell its output on the international market for 20 years. It will pay CFE for its natural gas consumption and transport fees, as well as a cut from the project's profits. The federal company will provide the land and help with the facility's permitting clearance.

Pacific coast:

Amigo LNG

The US$2bn Amigo project in Sonora state continues to advance and expects to start construction in February.

Owned by Singapore firm LNG Alliance, the project will make use of existing pipeline infrastructure to import shale gas from the US and convert it into LNG for export, via a large-scale facility involving 400,000m3 of gas storage capacity as well as two liquefaction barges with capacity to process 7.8Mt/y.

Land is being leased by Sonora, and part of Amigo's earnings will go towards supporting local communities, according to the company.

Some 1.8Mt/y of the output already has offtakers in South Asia, and LNG Alliance is close to wrapping up deals with offtakers in India, Indonesia and China.

Completion of the project is expected at the end of 2025, with the first shipment scheduled for January the following year.

Energía Costa Azul

Sempra's plant remains the only LNG project currently under construction in Mexico. It will be located in Baja California state, with France’s Technip hired as the main contractor.

The project involves a 3.25Mt/y liquefaction plant at Sempra’s existing LNG import facility in Ensenada, and 2.5Mt/y have been committed to Mitsui and Total through 20-year supply contracts. 

Production is expected for the second half of 2024.

Topolobampo (Vista Pacífico)

This LNG project in Sinaloa is also helmed by Sempra and involves construction of a new liquefaction facility at the port of Topolobampo, in a joint venture with CFE.

The project, which is in the early stages, will export approximately 4Mt/y once built.

Puerto Libertad

The project is led by Mexico Pacific and involves the construction of a 14.1Mt/y terminal at the port of Puerto Libertad, in Sonora. It will be built in three stages, each bringing one liquefaction unit with 4.7Mt/y capacity and some 600Bf3/d of gas consumption online. The total investment is estimated at above US$10bn.

The firm has said that it has obtained all major permits required to operate the project. Works are expected to start in 2023 and finish three years later.

Salina Cruz

CFE plans to contract out the construction of a 3Mt/y liquefaction unit in Salina Cruz port as part of its plans to expand natural gas infrastructure in the Tehuantepec isthmus.

The terminal would have liquefaction capacity of 200Mf3/d with the possibility of doubling output at a later stage. The project requires the construction of the Jáltipan-Salina Cruz pipeline, one of CFE's key projects in the area, which will supply the liquefaction plant.

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