Fully contracted but still not processing liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments on a commercial basis, San Diego-based Sempra Energy’s Costa Azul LNG receiving terminal along the Pacific Coast of North Baja California, Mexico, was dedicated by Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon Thursday in ceremonies at the site hosted by Sempra CEO Donald Felsinger.

Noting that in the past 10 years Sempra has invested more than $2 billion in energy infrastructure projects in Mexico, Felsinger told Calderon that the official dedication of the $975 million, 1 Bcf/d LNG facility was the result of the U.S. energy holding company working closely with elected leaders, regulators and the citizens of Mexico. He called the dedication “historic” and said Sempra anticipates continued cooperation with Mexico on additional energy projects.

Although the Costa Azul LNG terminal is fully contracted, so far it has handled only two test cargoes — one in April and another in May. Nevertheless, Sempra’s earnings are positive because half of the terminal’s capacity is covered in a contract with Shell International Gas Ltd. under a 20-year deal in which Shell pays Sempra whether or not LNG is delivered. The rest of the capacity is covered by a 20-year deal Sempra has for importing Indonesian supplies, which will not begin flowing until next year.

Indonesian shipments from a unit of BP should begin arriving in the second quarter next year, Sempra said. A new liquefaction facility still under construction by BP and Tangguh LNG Partners is being completed in Indonesia.

Sempra stressed that in addition to the LNG terminal, it has other major projects in Baja California, including Termoelectrica de Mexicali, a 625 MW gas-fired electric generation plant; natural gas distribution companies in Mexicali, Chihuahua and La Laguna-Durango, which deliver natural gas to about 100,000 customers; and the Mexican portion of the North Baja gas transmission pipeline, which is tied in with U.S. Southwest interstate gas pipelines at the California-Arizona border.

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