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Kinder Morgan's Sierrita line seeks US approval to ramp up exports to Mexico

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asked the U.S. departments of State and Defense to amend a presidential permit for Kinder Morgan Inc.'s natural gas expansion project to export up to an additional 323,000 Dth/d to northwest Mexican markets.

The Sierrita Compressor Expansion project would increase the maximum daily capacity of border facilities in Pima County, Ariz. Sierrita Gas Pipeline LLC submitted an application Dec. 21, 2017. If approved, the maximum export capacity would increase to about 524,000 Dth/d. The project would not include construction or modifications to existing border-crossing facilities. Instead, the project would consist of a new compressor station, an additional gas meter at the San Joaquin meter station and relocation of other equipment.

FERC reminded the federal departments that the original project secured presidential permits without objection. The commission authorized the Sierrita pipeline in a certificate order June 6, 2014. The border-crossing facilities consist of about 60 feet of 36-inch-diameter pipeline with a maximum export capacity of 200,846 Dth/d.

The pipeline interconnects with facilities owned by Mexican gas company Gasoducto de Aguaprieta S. de RL de CV and a pipeline that provides transportation service to expanding markets in northwest Mexico. Sierrita agreed to a long-term transportation service agreement with a unit of Mexico's Comisión Federal de Electricidad for about 20 years. (FERC docket CP13-74)

Sierrita asked FERC to approve the expansion before August so it can begin construction in spring 2019. Construction would finish by the following spring.

Sierrita is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan and subsidiaries of Petroleos Mexicanos Internacional and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (FERC docket CP18-37)