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Analysis

Altamira LNG Terminal Sold after Five Years

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 12:03

The LNG terminal at Altamira started as a joint venture between Shell (holding a 50% share), Total and Mitsui. In 2006, the terminal received its first LNG from Nigeria, taking 14 days to reach its destination. The station, on the Atlantic coast of Mexico, was the first LNG regasification terminal in Latin America. In June 2011, the joint venture sold its interests for US$408 million to a company created by Dutch firm Vopak and Spanish firm Enagas, which took over the operational control in September 2011.

“In 2003, one of our biggest energy projects in Mexico at the time was the Altamira LNG terminal. One of the ways that our company likes to share knowledge is by localizing companies,” says Marta Jara Otero, President and General Director of Shell México. “The LNG terminal was sold in 2011, and when it was sold, it was completely run by Mexican sta, which required a knowledge transfer to help the company become self-directed and to bring it up to the competence level needed for regasification, a process that was previously unknown in Mexico.”

The terminal has two tanks, each with a storage capacity of 5.30 Mcf and an annual emission capacity of 261.33 Bcf, and a jetty that can receive LNG ships with a load of up to 7.63 Mcf.

This emission capacity could be brought up to 353.15 Bcf with the construction of a third tank, which is not likely in the short run as the glut of non-conventional gas in the market has meant that countries such as the US, which once relied on LNG imports to supply gas demand, now has cheap access to domestic gas, and for countries like Mexico, it is cheaper to receive this gas via pipeline from the US than it is to buy it as LNG cargo. Since its throughput capacity of 261.33 Bcf per year is fully contracted for a long-term period, the new owners of the Altamira LNG terminal have no reason to worry yet.