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Guiding the Energy Transition with the Spirit of Engineering

Gonzálo Azcárraga - Grupo SENER
Managing Director México


Perla Velasco By Perla Velasco | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Fri, 03/31/2023 - 12:04

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Q: What surprises has Grupo SENER found in its operations in the Mexican market as an experienced international player? 

A: Our history in Mexico goes back to 1970. In the 80s and 90s, we began to see much activity in the oil and gas sector. We were managing engineering projects for clients in Mexico in the offshore, aerospace, energy and transportation industries from our headquarters in Spain. At the beginning of the 2000s, SENER partnered with a veteran Mexican engineering firm, which we later acquired to delve further into the world of oil and gas in the country.

Remarkably, SENER is now the number-one consulting firm in the field of Mexican infrastructure. This is curious because we began in oil and gas, though infrastructures is the main activity within SENER, occupying close to 70% of our capacity. We work on railway projects, subways, ports, airports and highways, among others. Nevertheless, we retain our powerful capacity for projects in the energy and oil and gas sectors.

Q: How does Grupo SENER manage to combine construction and engineering capabilities?

A: In the field of energy, oil and gas, we are an engineering company but with construction capabilities, specialists in the industry. We have finished several compression stations, combined cycle projects and gas transportation systems, among other examples. However, in infrastructure, we provide engineering and we partner with construction companies.

The company’s approach is different but its spirit is the same because we are passionate about confronting challenges and solving problems, coupled with our enthusiasm for technology. This has led to our success in infrastructure. Grupo SENER’s purpose is to solve problems.

Q: What projects defined SENER in 2022?

A: The large projects in which we are present also give the market confidence in Grupo SENER. Our work in the public sector has permeated the private sector’s view of the company. Since 2021, we have been involved in the basic design of the Mayan train. We were the engineering company that established, together with the client, the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (FONATUR), the basic perimeter of the project. From there, Grupo SENER began to work on overseeing the executive projects for the construction companies of each section.

We solve the problems construction companies run into and prepare detailed projects, saving time and money by solving unforeseen issues. The Mayan Train is the most important project we participate in and it is also our proudest achievement in terms of development. SENER is also working on the modernization of Line 1 of the Mexico City Metro, pleased to provide solutions for this city to make it more welcoming.

Q: How has the company delved into the energy sector and which niches would it like to explore?

A: We are mainly working on gas transportation projects. We believe that gas pipelines represent one of Mexico’s greatest needs in the short term to be able to supply gas to new power plants and to gain a much more far-reaching transportation network. We provide services to companies participating in these large projects.

The government recently announced a series of agreements with private companies for joint investment. Companies want to give a strong push to the sector with the support of the administration.

My dream would be to participate in green hydrogen production in Mexico, either as an engineer, as an investor or as a builder of green hydrogen power production projects. Mexico has great potential for green hydrogen. I believe that the opportunity lies in the gas distribution and transportation system, to improve the country's infrastructure and to enable the growth that the energy industry needs. Strong growth in energy demand is expected to come. This energy has to come mostly from natural gas and renewable energy amid a global energy transition.

Q: The year before the elections in Mexico, companies usually start to focus on the private sector because there are not many government projects starting up. What is Grupo SENER doing to diversify its infrastructure projects?

A: We have 48 projects underway, a healthy mix of private and public clients. Although public projects have given us recognition and visibility, we have worked with a multitude of private clients in a large number of sectors.

Although public investment is decisive in infrastructure, private construction companies execute these projects, so they are our main clients. We stand on the shoulders of giants because we are the little players that help these massive companies to carry out key projects. A change in administration will not affect us much: we are led by our ample skills and are not positioned in any way in any political sphere. We like technical problems and that is where we excel.

In Mexico, we are working on several projects still in their nascent phase for the generation of green hydrogen. We see this technology as one of the potential catalysts for the energy transition. Mexico has great renewable energy potential absent in other parts of the world. The means of exporting green hydrogen are already being analyzed and have unique potential.

Q: Other countries where you work are more advanced in the energy transition. How do you see the opportunities for the energy transition in Mexico and what knowledge does the global company have that it could apply in Mexico to assist in this process?

A: We have gained much knowledge from our operations in Europe. Grupo SENER understood that the energy transition is just that: a transition. For all the talk of green power projects or paradigm shifts, some issues must be solved first, such as energy efficiency.

We are working closely with Mexican companies to analyze their energy efficiency potential. This transition begins by looking at production processes and understanding what kind of improvements operations could benefit from.

However, developing a plan is necessary, especially in Mexico. The country’s main source of income is exports and the nearshoring effect is just around the corner. Companies are committed to sustainability. Although there are no specific policies that promote sustainability within Mexico’s borders, the clients of Mexican companies are going to demand sustainable practices, which will become the driver of decarbonization. In Mexico, Grupo SENER is in the dissemination of information phase, showcasing tangible results in Europe, mainly in the field of digitization and asset monitoring.

Mexico’s transition to natural gas is also necessary as it will be one of the engines for sustainability in the future. Therefore, we will continue working on gas projects for the years ahead. We are also going to work more and more on projects of distributed hydrogen generation, offshore wind, circular economy and water treatment, tackling the world's biggest problems because we like to solve challenges. We invest strongly in R&D and we have many lines of research open across the board.


Grupo SENER develops innovative engineering and technology solutions in different markets. In the energy industry, the company is focused on renewable power, decarbonization and the energy transition.

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