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Mexico’s CRE to Publish First NatGas Price Report This Week

Mexico’s Comision Reguladora de Energia (CRE) plans to publish by the end of this week its first price report for molecule sales in the country’s nascent natural gas market, according to the director of economic analysis at the regulator’s natural gas unit.

“Our main goal is to get daily transaction reports from marketers in order to develop a natural gas information system and publish information on daily prices, and then eventually develop price indices for the Mexican market,” Ruben Rodriguez said on Tuesday in San Antonio at the inaugural U.S.-Mexico Natural Gas Forum sponsored by LDC Gas Forums.

The regulator is still finalizing the rules under which it will publish the prices, which are due by Friday. The Mexican government is keen to provide gas market participants with transparent data on prices and other market conditions as it opens up the energy industry to private participants.

Under CRE requirements, marketers have to report daily and monthly transactions. The daily reporting system captures data on day-ahead spot sales in the gas market, including price per molecule, storage and transportation costs.

Initially, the prices that CRE publishes would be monthly and only provide an average of all molecule sales across the Mexican market. Eventually, the regulator would begin releasing daily data at a regional or nodal level.

“We will go from the general to the specific as we gather more information and also as the market gains more liquidity,” Rodriguez said.

As several speakers at the three-day forum noted, the development of domestic price indices -- for example, in the industrial hub city of Monterrey -- will take time. The country is still working on a large-scale expansion of its pipeline network, with most remaining projects due for completion in 2018. In the meantime, gas prices in Mexico are mostly following U.S. indices, in particular, the Houston Ship Channel.

“Currently everything has kind of been Ship-based, and that will probably stay that way until you get the extra capacity built and have the ability to move gas and get options where you can move different paths,” said BP Energy Co.’s Ron Vogel, vice president of marketing for the Southeast, Gulf Coast, Mid Atlantic and Mexico regions.

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