Aug. 23–U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico by pipeline are expected to jump in the coming months as several long-awaited projects are placed into service to feed growing demand across the border and potentially ease bottlenecks in the Permian Basin in West Texas.
The U.S. Energy Department reported that four major pipelines are scheduled to begin commercial operations by the end of the year to supply Mexico’s power generation and industrial sectors. The country has emerged as one of the largest customers of U.S. natural gas after overhauling its energy policies five years ago.
The pipelines, which include Enbridge’sNueces-Brownsville project in the Rio Grande Valley and three projects in Mexico, are expected to start up in October and November. They’ll help bring gas from West Texas, where there is a pipeline shortage, and elsewhere in the state to central and western Mexico.
Already, exports have ramped up in recent months. Natural gas shipments to Mexico by pipeline exceeded 5 billion cubic feet per day for the first time last month, up from an average of 4.2 billion cubic feet per day in 2017.
U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico surged after 2013 and 2014, when Mexico opened its energy market to foreign investment and intensified its focus on using cleaner-burning fuel sources such as natural gas. It sought to buy gas from the U.S., where the shale boom in West Texas and elsewhere had unleashed a cheap and plentiful supply, and pushed to expand its pipeline network as its own oil and gas production declined.
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