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Texas Ups Natural Gas Export Capacity into Mexico as FERC OKs Valley Crossing Marine Hookup

Enbridge Inc.’s underwater border crossing in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), which will connect Texas natural gas to Mexico markets, has been given the green light by FERC to begin service.

Valley Crossing Pipeline LLC, an underwater pipeline project, is 30 miles east of Brownsville, which sits at the southern tip of Texas on the border.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the request to enter the project into service was in compliance with environmental conditions, with rehabilitation and restoration of affected areas “proceeding satisfactorily” as of the status report filed in mid-January [No. CP17-19-000].

Valley Crossing initially began service in November, traversing 168 miles from Agua Dulce in South Texas near Corpus Christi into the GOM, with capacity to move up to 2.6 Bcf/d.

Underwater, Valley Crossing would connect with Sur de Texas-Tuxpan marine pipeline, a joint venture with TransCanada Corp. and Sempra Energy’s Mexico unit, Infraestructura Marina del Golfo S de RL de CV. 

The $2.1 billion Sur de Texas-Tuxpan underwater pipeline stretches nearly 500 miles through the Gulf of Mexico from Brownsville, TX, to the Tuxpan port in Veracruz state, and is considered an important part of the puzzle to move supply from gas-rich basins in Texas to gas-deprived southern Mexico.

The border crossing project’s primary customer is Mexico state power utility, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), which is undertaking a massive shift to combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT) from fuel oil and diesel-fired power generation capacity. Mexico’s installed CCGT capacity stood at 28,084 MW at the end of 2017, a figure that is expected to double by 2032, according to the Energy Ministry’s 2018-2032 power sector development program.

“Valley Crossing is expected to account for about half of the CFE’s total import capacity,” Enbridge officials said in November. Transport capacity is “half the average daily production output of the entire Eagle Ford Shale” in South Texas. In fact, it said, “it’s more than 10% of the average daily production for the entire state of Texas.”

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