BY LAURENCE ILIFF
MEXICO CITY -- Sempra Energy is looking at new projects in Mexico, officials said,
including a possible bid on a 740 km natural
gas pipeline that Pemex is putting on a fast track in order
to get cheap gas from the southern United States to growing
industries in central Mexico.
"Yes, it interests us," said Carlos Ruiz Sacristan, the
chairman and CEO for Sempra's Mexico unit Ienova, which was
listed on the local stock exchange in March.
The planned pipeline from the Agua Dulce gas hub in Texas to
central Mexico is in three parts, and Pemex is currently
seeking bids for the longest section, which runs from Los
Ramones in the northern state of Nuevo Leon to Guanajuato and
is expected to cost around $1.8 billion.
Sempra already has a contract with Pemex for the second part
of the pipeline, which was not put out to bid because it is
being constructed as part of a Pemex joint-venture.
Sempra is also working on pipeline projects for the state electricity
company Comision Federal de Electricidad, or CFE, which is
building a natural
gas pipeline down the Pacific side of Mexico. Pemex's
pipeline runs down the Gulf side.
Debra L. Reed, Sempra Energy's chairman and Chief Executive,
said at the news conference that the company is currently
working on investments worth $1.5 billion in Mexico, including
sections of the CFE pipeline. Sempra already has $2.5 billion
invested in the country, including a LNG
regasification terminal in Baja California that supplies
Ms. Reed said the United States shale gas boom has been a
game changer for the North American energy market, including
Mexico, which will benefit from the lower cost gas, which is
also more environmentally friendly that fuel oil or coal.
Mr. Ruiz said the company sees lots of opportunities in
Mexico, including wind farms and solar energy.
While Mexico maintains a state monopoly on oil and gas
production, the transportation and distribution of natural
gas, including LNG
plants, has been open to the private sector for years. The new
pipelines will provide greater opportunities to build
distribution networks in more Mexican cities to provide
piped-in gas to homes, Mr. Ruiz said. Currently most Mexican
homes use tanks of liquefied petroleum gas.
Mexico's natural gas
production has fallen in recent years along with a drop in
oil production by Pemex, which hasn't been able to meet demand
for the fuel by industry.
Pemex estimates natural gas imports from the United States
will more than triple by the end of 2015 as the new natural
gas pipeline projects come online.
Dow Jones Newswires