News reports out of Mexico City on Thursday cited the nation's chief electricity regulator as identifying the first of five new natural gas transmission pipelines that are on the drawing board to serve state-run generation plants. The first will be a $400 million line between Ojinaga and El Encino in the north-central state of Chihuahua.
Mexico's electricity commission CEO at Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Enrique Ochoa, told an energy audience in Mexico City recently that he and the nation's energy secretariat will oversee the building of all five pipelines, totaling about $2.5 billion. Bid packages for any of the five pipelines are still to be issued.
In April he outlined the projects (see Daily GPI, April 22) that are now ready to start the competitive bidding stage. At least one U.S. energy firm with extensive operations already south of the border, Sempra Energy, has said it will bid on multiple projects in Mexico (see Daily GPI, May 5).
“CFE recently announced the five gas pipeline bids in Northern Mexico and in the United States, and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and IEnova [its Mexican affiliate] are interested in participating in these bids,” said a San Diego-based Sempra spokesperson. “We will evaluate the projects once the bid documents are issued.”
In order of development, Ochoa indicated the rest of the pipeline projects would roll out as follows: second would be El Encino to Laguna in the state of Durango; followed by a line from Waha, TX, in the U.S. to Samalayuca in Chihuahua; then Waha to Ojinaga as the fourth project; and the final one will be a stretch from Ehrenberg, AZ, near the California-Arizona border to San Luis Rio Colorado in Sonora state.
Ochoa reportedly told the energy audience that Mexico is seeking increased reliability in its natural gas transportation network and it wants more access to competitively priced U.S. gas supplies. In the past that has meant working with companies such as Sempra, El Paso Natural Gas, and others.
Reports in Mexico indicated that President Enrique Pena Nieto wants to increase the nation's natural gas production from the current 5.7 Bcf/d to 8 Bcf/d in 2018 and more than 10 Bcf/d by 2025.