Mexico in need of 4bcf in natural gas storage - Cenagas

02 November 2017 21:44 Source:ICIS

Mexico’s Transmission System Operator (TSO) CENAGAS sees a need for up to 4 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas storage capacity across the country after reviewing feedback from its first ever Consulta Publica.

Storage options under consideration include an underground unit as well as the conversion of the Altamira LNG terminal, where cargoes are currently imported and regasified.

The feedback also confirmed the TSO’s initial estimates of 6bcf/day of demand for the Sistrangas, according to remarks by the entity’s Director General David Madero at the Permian Crudes, Gas and NGLs Conference in Houston on 2 November.

The Consulta Publica was conducted in October and represents CENAGAS’ first non-binding call for expressions of demand and project proposals from the public.

It is an avenue through which the private sector and state and local governments can participate in the body’s planning process. The official results are expected to be made public in the coming days.

Madero also mentioned that he saw most future natural gas demand growth in Mexico happening outside the Sistrangas system CENAGAS oversees.

This demand is tied to new pipelines which do not form part of the system and are set to be commissioned. Madero explained that one such pipeline, Ojinaga-El Encino, is packed and tested but waiting for downstream pipelines to come online.

Six other pipelines are expected online during the first half of 2018. Among these are Fermaca’s El Encino-La Laguna line which is expected to be operational in December 2017 while Topolobampo-El Encino is expected in March 2018. The latter pipeline will allow flows to commence through Ojinaga-El Encino.

Interconnections between new pipelines and the Sistrangas will be key to servicing the growth in Mexican natural gas demand. CENAGAS is currently considering numerous interconnections with other pipeline systems at points such as El Encino in Chihuahua, Zapotlanejo in Jalisco, and Altamira in Tamaulipas among others.

Another key interconnection will be with the Mayakan pipeline system in the southeast of the country where there have been chronic gas shortages over recent years. Madero confirmed that CENAGAS recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) to help them reverse the gas flows at Cempoala either by adjusting valves or by more sophisticated means.

Making that adjustment would allow gas to flow further south than is currently possible and eventually connect the Sistrangas with the Mayakan system. claudia.espinosa@icis.com

By Claudia Espinosa