Mexico’s IPGN monthly natural gas price index averaged $3.15/MMBtu in November, down from $4.60/MMBtu during the same month a year ago.

The Comisión Reguladora de Energía (CRE) used 238 transactions reported by 24 marketers to calculate this month’s index, compared to 291 transactions from 21 marketers in the year-ago month.

The volume of natural gas transacted averaged 6.154 Bcf/d, down from 6.723 Bcf/d in November 2018.

The CRE began publishing the IPGN in July 2017 to serve as a reference until the market gained enough liquidity and transparency for third-party indexes to emerge.

Given Mexico’s dependence on gas imports from the U.S., a majority of gas transactions in Mexico are priced based on U.S. benchmarks such as Henry Hub, Houston Ship Channel, or Waha, plus the cost of transport to the delivery point in Mexico.

Excluding gas consumed by national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), imports accounted for 89% of Mexico’s gas consumption in September, the latest month for which data is available from energy ministry Sener.

Domestic production of natural gas in Mexico, meanwhile, averaged 3.95 Bcf/d in November, up from 3.65 Bcf/d in the same month a year ago.

The IPGN divides Mexico into six trading regions. Region 1, which includes the northwestern states of Baja California, Sonora and Sinaloa, recorded the lowest average gas price in November, at $2.30/MMBtu.

Region 4, which covers the states of Jalisco, Colima, Zacatecas, and Aguascalientes, saw the highest average price, at $4.42/MMBtu.

Regions 3 and 5 saw the highest traded volumes of gas, at 1.98 Bcf/d and 1.76 Bcf/d, respectively.

Region 3 covers the northeastern states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, home to the city and surrounding area of Monterrey, an industrial hub where multiple pipeline systems converge. Region 5 covers central Mexico, including capital Mexico City.

Since 2012, Mexico has undertaken a massive buildout of its pipeline infrastructure, mainly through long-distance, wide-diameter pipelines anchored by state power utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE).

Although this wave of projects is nearly finished, a few crucial last-mile completions, as well as interconnections between the CFE-anchored pipes and the Sistrangas national grid, are still pending.

Sistrangas operator Centro Nacional de Control del Gas Natural (Cenagas) announced this month it will seek bids for a 10-mile, 1 Bcf/d interconnect between the Sistrangas and the Mayakan pipeline, which serves the gas-starved the Yucatán Peninsula.

December saw the entrance into service of Fermaca’s 281-mile La Laguna-Aguascalientes pipeline, part of the Wahalajara system, which will link the Waha hub in West Texas with Guadalajara, Mexico.

Fermaca expects the final final phase of Wahalajara, comprising the Villa de Reyes-Aguascalientes-Guadalajara section, to enter service in the first quarter of 2020, a company spokesperson told NGI’s Mexico GPI this month.