August 10, 2018 / 7:44 PM / 2 months ago

GRAPHIC- Rising U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico capped by pipe delays

    By Andres Guerra Luz and Scott DiSavino
    Aug 10 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico hit all-time
highs this month, but a slower-than-expected build out of pipelines inside
Mexico has kept increases far below available capacity at the border.
    The latest uptick in exports, driven by demand from Mexico's power
sector, occurred after several Mexican pipelines began operation, allowing
U.S. companies to send more fuel across the border, RBN Energy said in a
report.
    
    (For a graphic on U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico, see: tmsnrt.rs/2OoMqnv)

    Over the last decade, U.S. gas exports to Mexico via pipeline have more
than tripled, to 4.9 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in August, according
to Thomson Reuters data. One billion cubic feet is enough gas to fuel about
five million U.S. homes.
    Still, that is less than half the available U.S. gas pipeline capacity
to Mexico, which will increase to 13.5 bcfd by year-end when Enbridge Inc's
 $1.6 billion Valley Crossing pipeline enters service.
    "There are a lot of projects to get gas across the border, but a lot of
these are dependent on important lines within Mexico," said Rick Margolin,
a senior analyst at energy data provider Genscape.
    The completion of those pipelines on the Mexican side of the border are
facing at least a year's delay on average, according to Genscape.
    The U.S.-Mexico Nueva Era project, which includes the Impulsora
pipeline in Texas, was originally expected to enter service in mid-2017 but
did not become operational until mid-2018 due to construction delays on the
Mexico side of the border.    
           
    (For a graphic on U.S. natural gas pipeline capacity to Mexico, see: tmsnrt.rs/2M4niFK)
    
    With gas pipelines constrained, Mexico has had to rely on more
expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports.
    Mexico has been the biggest buyer of U.S. LNG, purchasing about 19
percent of all U.S. cargoes between February 2016 and May.
    Mexico is on track to import 188.9 billion cubic feet of U.S. LNG in
2018. That was up from 140.3 bcf in 2017, which was worth about $695
million, and 27.4 bcf in 2016.
    As more pipelines enter service, analysts expect cheaper U.S. gas via
pipeline will displace the more expensive LNG imports.
    Completion of more infrastructure in Mexico will also enable more U.S.
gas to flow out of the pipeline-constrained Permian basin in west Texas and
eastern New Mexico, which is producing record amounts of cheap gas as a
byproduct of oil drilling.
    
 Recent U.S. Pipelines to Mexico                                       
 Company                      Pipeline           State    Volume      In
                                                          (bcfd)   Service
 Enbridge                     Valley Crossing  TX-Mexico   2.60    Q4 2018
 Energy Transfer Partners     Comanche Trail   TX-Mexico   1.10      2017
 Howard Energy                Impulsora        TX-Mexico   0.60      2017
 Energy Transfer Partners     Trans-Pecos      TX-Mexico   1.40      2017
 Oneok                        Roadrunner       TX-Mexico   0.57      2016
 Kinder Morgan                Sierrita Gas     AZ-Mexico   0.21      2014
 NextEra                      NET Mexico       TX-Mexico   2.10      2014
 
    
 (Reporting by Andres Guerra Luz and Scott DiSavino in New York
Editing by Susan Thomas)
  
 
 
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