US natural gas exports to Mexico could reach as high as 5.4 Bcf/d by late summer 2017, according to data from Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy, but will be highly dependent on a roughly 4.1 Bcf/d year-on-year build in export capacity. Ross Wyeno, senior energy analyst, shares forecasts around Mexico's natural gas supply and details about four new pipelines that will increase Texas' exports to its southern neighbor.
Total US gas exports to Mexico set to rise 30% in 2017: Platts Analytics
By Ross Wyeno, senior energy analyst
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US natural gas exports to Mexico have been on the rise over the last several years as Mexico contends with declining natural gas production and rising demand. In 2017, Platts Analytics’ Bentek Energy expects that US exports to Mexico could reach as high as 5.4 Bcf/d by late-summer. However, the timing and strength of that build will be highly dependent on the timely addition of a roughly 4.1 Bcf/d year-on-year build in export capacity.
US natural gas exports rose to 3.7 Bcf/d in 2016, a 20% build over 2015, largely due to new exports along the NET Mexico pipeline in South Texas.
This year, total US exports to Mexico are set to rise by another 1.1 Bcf/d, or 30%, supported by the addition of three four new border crossings in South and West Texas.
These new exports will fill in for falling domestic natural gas production in Mexico, which is expected to decline by another 20% in 2017. Demand is also expected to rise by around 11%, largely supported by growing gas-fired power generation needs. There is over 7 GW of new natural gas fired generation planned with a 2017 in service date, according to data compiled in the Platts Analytics Mexico Facilities Databank. These new exports will reach the Mexican market via four new export pipelines: Roadrunner, Comanche Trail, Trans-Pecos, and Nueva Era.
Combined with downstream pipelines in Mexico, Platts Analytics estimates that these new Texas border crossings will be able to access up to 4.7 Bcf/d of downstream demand by late summer, a 1 Bcf/d build from last year.
The primary new export corridors are likely to be along the Trans Pecos pipeline in West Texas and the Nueva Era Pipeline in South Texas.
In West Texas, the 1.35-Bcf/d Trans Pecos pipeline is set to come online in March and will provide incremental delivery capacity into the Mexican city of Chihuahua. The pipeline will also support deliveries further south into Durango with the adjoining pipeline expansions in Mexico, which are expected to startup concurrent with Trans Pecos. In South Texas, the 0.6 Bcf/d Nueva Era pipeline is set to come online in June and will largely serve power producers in the Monterrey area.
US natural gas exports to Mexico expected to top 5 Bcf/d by late summer: Platts Analytics Bentek Energy
The startup of these two pipelines is likely to be followed soon thereafter by strong increases in US exports to Mexico, which are expected to rise above 5 Bcf/d by mid-summer.
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