Ortiz said since “those provisions are very general and, of course, we are always in full compliance with all of our permit obligations, I think we need to look at the secondary laws that will regulate those activities in detail to really understand what the impact may be.” Ortiz indicated it is still too early to say whether a recent controversial reform to Mexico’s hydrocarbons law will impact IEnova’s activities in Mexico. The law gives the state greater control over granting and revoking permits in the oil, gas and petrochemicals business. Although the nationalist energy policies of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have caused consternation among investors, Ortiz offered a different perspective. She said in the energy sector, “you need to keep your sight on the fundamentals and on the long-term, and Mexico continues to need energy infrastructure to be able to supply its energy needs, and it will continue to require private investment to meet those needs.”
The pipelines are part of a massive buildout anchored by state power utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) to secure natural gas supply from the United States amid declining production by state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). IEnova, the Mexico unit of San Diego, California-based Sempra Energy, has more than 2,900 kilometers (1,801 miles) of natural gas pipelines in operation and about 200 kilometers (124 miles) under construction in Mexico.
U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico hit a record single-day high of 7.1 Bcf/d on April 14. Sanctioned in late 2020, ECA is on track to be the first LNG export terminal on the west coast of North America, with first production expected in late 2024.
IEnova also jointly developed the 2.6 Bcf/d Sur de Texas-Tuxpan subsea pipeline connecting U.S. gas supply to various demand points in Mexico. IEnova was the first private company to be awarded a natural gas distribution contract through a public auction following a 1995 reform partially liberalizing Mexico’s energy sector. It built the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal on the west coast of North America.
Sempra’s Mexico business has spanned multiple governments and regulatory changes. She added, “We are going through some important changes in the regulatory and legal framework the sector. So we need to be careful as to how we evaluate those changes and continue to find ways to collaborate with the current administration to continue developing projects.”
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- IEnova reports growth in Mexico’s natural gas business, as fundamentals remain strong
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