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Mexico’s First Monthly NatGas Price Index Released by CRE

Mexico marketers sold natural gas at an average of price $4.10/MMBtu in July, the first month since the country implemented its capacity reservation regime.

On Friday, Mexico’s energy regulator, the Comison Reguladora de Energia (CRE), released a nonbinding monthly price index based on wholesale transactions in Mexico’s fledgling natural gas market. CRE commissioners had approved the publishing guidelines for the index the day before.

For now, the index, known as the IPGN, is to include a national average of all transactions that Mexican gas marketers report each month. It includes the price per molecule and the cost of delivery, according to guidelines approved on Thursday. CRE plans to update the IPGN on its website within 15 business days after the end of each month.

As the market gains traction, the regulator plans to segment the index by region or by specific nodes of high liquidity, and then eventually move to daily prices.

“We will go from the general to the specific as we gather more information and also as the market gains more liquidity,” CRE’s Ruben Rodriguez said last week at the U.S.-Mexico Natural Gas Forum in San Antonio. He is director of economic analysis at the regulator’s natural gas unit.

Gas marketers operating in Mexico are required to submit daily and monthly reports on their transactions. The reporting system is designed to capture data on day-ahead spot sales, including the price per molecule and storage and transportation costs.

The platform for the reporting system has been in place since the end of 2016, but participants had been unable to carry out the kinds of transactions it records until July 1, when the capacity reservation regime entered into force.

The CRE expects private price reporting agencies to eventually create Mexico-specific indexes. Once third-party indexes emerge, the regulator could decide to stop publishing the IPGN, which is not meant to serve as a mandatory reference price, according to the publishing guidelines.

Mexican authorities are working to provide gas buyers and sellers with transparent information on pricing and other market conditions. The government views transparency as one of the key foundations for developing an open and competitive natural gas market, following decades of domination by one supplier, state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

NGI is publishing Estimated Cost-Plus-Transportation Natural Gas Prices for gas delivered to Mexico each day in NGI's Mexico Gas Price Index newsletter, which also covers all the latest news and data associated with the country's deregulating natural gas sector. Sign up to receive your free issue each day. Also, NGI is soliciting price survey participants and plans to publish prices in Mexico Natural Gas Index as soon as the market further develops. Please contact Dexter Steis at (703) 318-8848 to participate in the survey.

On June 16, CRE eliminated the regulated price cap on Pemex’s first-hand gas sales throughout Mexico. The final price caps per gigajoule (GJ) published that month were $3.1083/GJ ($2.95/MMBtu) at Reynosa, near the U.S.-Texas border, and $3.3905/GJ ($3.214/MMBtu) at Ciudad Pemex, in the southern state of Tabasco.

The new market rules, implemented under Mexico’s historic energy reforms, also mandate the creation of electronic bulletin boards, which track capacity and flows on the country’s gas pipelines.

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