New Mexico, one of the largest U.S. natural gas producers with vast resources in the Permian and San Juan basins, has joined a group of other western states and counties in working with tribal nations to open more export opportunities from the region to growing markets across Asia.
With a focus on rectifying the lack of infrastructure in connecting western supply basins to the export supply chain, the Western States and Tribal Nations (WSTN) was formed earlier this year after the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) outlined how U.S. gas resources may fuel regional and global communities. The CEA concluded that growing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Pacific Basin was a ready driver for stranded western gas supplies, including from the Uinta Basin in Utah and Piceance Basin in Colorado.
WSTN members include Wyoming, Utah, Baja California in Mexico and the Ute Native American Tribe. Colorado’s Garfield, Mesa, Moffett and Rio Blanco counties are also members.
“The addition of New Mexico to the Western States and Tribal Nations strengthens the alliance by aligning our mineral interests in a more unified front to promote the export of the abundant resources our states are blessed with,” Wyoming Pipeline Authority executive director Bryan Hassler said.
Utah’s Laura Nelson, energy adviser to Gov. Gary Herbert and executive director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development, said the addition of New Mexico to WSTN “will yield unparalleled outcomes for economies, environments and citizens locally and globally.”
Ute Tribal Business Committee chairman Shaun Chapoose touted New Mexico’s understanding of how energy production that can support tribal self-determination and rural economic growth can exist while maintaining stewardship of the environment. “As North America’s original guardians of the environment, we are encouraged by allies like this who see the greater value in balancing important priorities that are too often portrayed as incompatible.”
WSTN has pledged support for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG project, which recently received its long-awaited final environmental impact statement. The 1.04 Bcf/d export project, which has not been sanctioned, would be sited in Coos County, OR.
WSTN is also pursuing export options not only for Piceance and Uinta basin gas, but also from Wyoming’s Green River Basin. Meanwhile, Baja California is supporting plans to build the Energia Costa Azul LNG export capacity. The developer of the project, Sempra Energy, has indicated it plans to reach a final investment decision on the first phase before the end of March.*
*Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated the company developing the Energia Costa Azul LNG export project. Sempra Energy is developing the project in Baja California. NGI regrets the error.