Alberto Escofet
Regional Manager
Enagás México

Natural Gas Ripe for Development

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 12:58

The Mexican natural gas system is ripe for development, bringing opportunities that were unavailable before, according to the local unit of Spain’s Enagás, a leading transporter of natural gas.

“The Energy Reform provides more flexibility and a range of possibilities that were previously out of reach,” says Alberto Escofet, Enagás Regional Manager for Mexico. “It has allowed more innovation and proactivity for companies like Enagás to seek more solutions to build a natural gas network in the country and seize the advantages the fuel offers.”

The Spanish company acknowledges there are few regasification projects, although the opportunities that exist are good. Instead, it believes there are a multitude of prospects in transportation and storage. “There are many areas of opportunity in transportation because there is much work left to do and numerous kilometers of pipelines to attend. Storage is a very important area that has not been fully developed,” Escofet says. “There has been some progress on storage policy and an analysis of real needs to be addressed in the market and the optimal volumes of natural gas storage to secure supply.” He points out the company has 50 years of experience, expertise and infrastructure around the world.

Enagás, which is also the technical manager of Spain’s natural gas system, is planning to focus on projects that complement the natural gas transportation network and CFE’s auctions. It is also studying the possibilities for optimizing the existing network and developing potential projects to bring gas to diverse regions of the country.

Another potential area of opportunity is compression station (CS) infrastructure, in which Enagás has experience, including design, construction and operations. “Compression stations allow the transportation of larger volumes of natural gas so the existing infrastructure can be better employed when demand grows.”

Although the feasibility for this type of infrastructure will depend on the natural gas demand, the company is already prepared to tackle the opportunity. “Besides the many CS that Enagás owns, operates and maintains in Spain, we have a main role in Mexico with the 45MW Soto la Marina Compression Station.”

While the company thinks CFE will continue to be the most important off-taker in the market and the responsible party for most natural gas projects, it is still considering several other private companies as opportunities for development. “The greatest potential comes from serving the industrial market and distribution companies that work in the commercial and residential segment,” Escofet says. “There is a window to develop gas infrastructure to allow industrial growth and fossil fuel substitution with natural gas.”

Enagás believes the Energy Reform has been successful and hopes to extend its relationship with the regulatory institutions to further develop the Mexican energy industry. “There is an open communication channel and we are more than willing to collaborate with CRE, CENAGAS and the Mexican Natural Gas Association (AMGN). We are very active in all discussion forums where we provide feedback for regulatory institutions.”

The natural gas industry in Mexico is experiencing an expansion and the role of companies like Enagás will be determinant of the market’s future and its international competitiveness. Enagás hopes to contribute to this evolution and help consolidate this integral part of the reform. “We want to collaborate to assure the consolidation of the Energy Reform process so it works efficiently,” says Escofet.

“We seek to develop projects for new infrastructure. Enagás will continue to be one of the main players in transportation, storage and technical management to ensure its efficiency. We can contribute to the efficiency of the Mexican gas system so it can benefit all natural gas users,” he says.