U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico have been on a clear uptrend in recent months, but that rise took a noticeable pause in August. Pipeline shipments to Mexico were flat for the month, but liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from Sabine Pass dropped to their lowest level of the year.
According to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas shipped from the United States to Mexico via pipelines came in at 4.36 Bcf/d for the second consecutive month, both of which remain a shade below the yearly high of 4.47 Bcf/d that was registered in June.
On an individual point-by-point basis, the biggest monthly gainers in export locations were Rio Grande, TX (via NET Midstream, already the largest exporter to Mexico); San Elizario, TX, which is a relatively new category followed by the Department of Energy/EIA that NGI sees as monitoring flows from the recently completed Comanche Trail system, which feeds into the San-Isidro-Samalayuca system; and Rio Bravo, TX, the intersection between Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Gasoducto Del Rio.
Flows into Mexico from Clint, TX, in El Paso County showed the biggest monthly decline, falling by 161 MMcf/d. Volumes at this point, the intersection of El Paso Natural Gas and Samalayuca Pipeline, may have been displaced somewhat by gains at both nearby San Elizario and El Paso, TX.
Alamo, TX, the crossing point served by both Kinder Morgan Inc. and Energy Transfer Product Partners LP into the Sistrangas system, also saw a 100 MMcf/d-plus decline for the month.
Sasabe, AZ, the connecting point between Sierrita Pipeline and the Infraestructura Energetica Nova, or IEnova Sonora pipeline system, registered a slight 21 MMcf/d increase for the month. However, flows at that point were curtailed beginning Aug. 23 because of a force majeure declared on the Guaymas-El Oro section of the Sonora system. Before the force majeure, Sierrita was operating at maximum capacity of 200 MMcf/d, but it has recently seen flows fall below 100 MMcf/d.
Now that the worst of summer Mexico heat has dissipated, so too have LNG exports into the country from the Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, LA. Shipments from Sabine Pass to Mexico averaged only 221 MMcf/d in August, down from a peak of 825 MMcf/d in June, and easily the lowest monthly total for the year.