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Ariz., NM governors ink deal pushing for natural gas exports to Asia via Mexico

The governors of Arizona and New Mexico struck a nonbinding deal with the governor of Sonora, Mexico, that could allow U.S. natural gas to be exported from ports in Mexico to markets in Asia.

Under the memorandum of understanding Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich signed Dec. 19, the states would work together on the investment and research needed to export New Mexico-produced natural gas to Asia, including developing LNG facilities.

The parties cited New Mexico's natural gas supply exceeding domestic demand and ports in Sonora being nearer to Asian ports than those in the Gulf of Mexico. Arizona is also strategically located and has a "robust" transport network of gas pipelines, according to the MOU.

"Asia's burgeoning demand, New Mexico's abundant supply, and Arizona and Sonora's strategic location and transport networks all combine to present an opportunity for continued regional growth," according to the MOU. The partnership intends to study a plan to move natural gas from New Mexico to the Gulf of California through connecting existing pipelines in Arizona and Sonora. Tankers in the ports of Sonora would then receive the supply and ship it to Asian nations.

The MOU became effective Dec. 19 and is valid for four years, according to a news release from the office of the Arizona governor.