New Pipeline to Import Natural Gas Into Mexico Opens

A new pipeline project to move Eagle Ford Shale natural gas into Mexico’s growing energy market has opened.

Although Mexico has vast natural gas reserves, it hasn’t been able to develop them quickly enough to meet the country’s consumption, which has been climbing at four times the pace of overall economic growth at times in the past decade.

The NET Mexico project is from the Agua Dulce hub in Nueces County to a point about six miles east of Rio Grande City in Starr County.

The pipeline last November got the OK from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “to site, construct, connect, operate, and maintain a border-crossing facility” in Starr County for the export of natural gas.

NET Mexico is an affiliate of Houston-based NET Midstream, which has a long-term agreement to transport up to 2.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day with MexGas Supply Ltd., a subsidiary of Mexico’s state-owned gas company, Pemex Gas y Petroquimica Basica.

“MexGas has been an excellent partner throughout this process, and we look forward to continuing our relationship for years to come,” said Joe Gutierrez, co-president of NET, in a press release. “NET Mexico is a crucial component of Mexico’s amazing energy reform.”

NET Mexico’s Agua Dulce Hub will include over 4 billion cubic feet per day of receipt capacity from nine gas pipelines and four gas processing plants.

The design capacity of NET Mexico is 2.3 billion cubic feet per day, which can be expanded.

Mexican officials had previously announced that the government’s petroleum monopoly would use a Cayman Islands subsidiary to help finance a pipeline connecting the Agua Dulce gas hub to Mexico’s pipeline system on the border outside McAllen.

It would feed South Texas gas to the planned Los Ramones pipeline, which will run some 700 miles from the border through Monterrey and on to Aguascalientes state, supplying Mexico’s rapidly developing automotive manufacturing heartland.

NET Midstream operates three pipeline systems in the Eagle Ford Shale region and one that serves the city of Corpus Christi. It also owns Monument Pipeline in the Houston area.

NET Mexico said it will offer intrastate service from Eagle Ford Midstream, which it owns, Enterprise Intrastate Pipeline, EnterpriseTexas, Houston Pipe Line, Kinder Morgan Tejas, Conoco Lobo and Southcross.

Service from Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America and Tennessee Gas Pipeline will be offered soon, NET Mexico said. Receipt points from four processing plants are expected to be added in 2015: Exxon’s King Ranch plant, DCP’s LaGloria and Gulf Plains plants and Enterprise’s Delmita plant.

Express-News archives contributed to this report.

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