TX Gas Boom Expands Mexican Pipelines


An increase in demand for natural gas in Mexico combined with a decrease in that country’s own supply has companies lining up to pipe in the fuel from the U.S.

Since 2013, when Mexico’s laws changed to make it easier for foreign companies to import oil and gas there, more than $10 billion has been spent on planned or completed projects, according to a recent article in Bloomberg Business.

“Natural gas demand in Mexico has been growing substantially over the last five years,” said Moray Dewhurst, NextEra Energy Partners LP’s CFO, during an Aug. 3 conference call with investors. The Juno, FL-based company recently acquired NET Midstream, which owns a 120-mile pipeline that runs from Texas to the Mexican border, for $2.1 billion.

“At the same time, Mexico-based natural gas supply has been declining, which we believe increases Mexico’s need for U.S. gas imports,” said Dewhurst.

Companies Involved

Despite a decline in crude oil prices—which put a damper on efforts to drill oil in Mexico—NextEra Energy isn’t alone in the rush to build gas pipelines that extend from the U.S. into Mexico. According to multiple reports, the list of companies expanding their pipelines or engaging in pipeline contracts is significant. Some of those companies include:

  • Infraestructura Energetica Nova, a division of San Diego-based Sempra Energy known as Ienova, which agreed to pay $1.325 billion for a 50 percent stake in Gasoductos de Chihuahua, which operates a 73-mile pipeline between the northern Mexican states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas;
  • Kinder Morgan Inc., the largest U.S. pipeline operator, which is doubling the size of its U.S.-Mexico pipeline;
  • Oneok Partners LP, of Tulsa, OK, which said it would spend as much as $100 million on an expansion pipeline to Mexico; and
  • Energy Transfer Partners—a group that operates more than 62,000 miles of gas pipelines—which has two construction contracts with a combined value of $1.363 billion as part of an agreement with Florida-based MasTec Inc. and Mexican-based Carso Energy SA to connect Texas with northern Mexico.

Current, Future Pipelines

A recent Forbes article looked at where these pipelines are crossing the border, with details on the locations of the pipelines; the amount of gas being transferred through the lines; and the companies involved in the projects.

The Forbes article also notes that while northern U.S. shale projects have taken a chunk out of Texas gas fields, the Energy Information Agency estimates that natural gas exports to Mexico were 3 percent of production in April and are expected to grow to 5 percent by 2030.

Meanwhile, more pipelines are coming, according to Bloomberg. The Mexican government-owned Comision Federal de Electricidad that oversees new pipeline construction has requested bids on 12 pipeline projects that total $8.7 billion. Those projects would increase the country’s pipeline network by 75 percent by 2018 and increase gas supplies to 7 billion cubic feet per day by 2028.


Tagged categories: Industrial Contractors; Industrial design; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline; Pipelines; Program/Project Management

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