Pedro Arjona

Natural Gas as the Future of Mexican Energy Generation

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 15:21

Specialized Design Engineering and Updated Systems, also known as Grupo DEISA, is a 100% Mexican company that has more than 50 years of experience working in the natural gas industry. The company has three divisions, namely an engineering and construction division that has been in operation for 50 years, a verification unit that has 15 years as a pioneer in the sector of pipelines and facilities inspection, and a division dedicated to the operation and maintenance of gas pipelines. “We not only administrate the technical aspects of the industry, but also the regulatory ones,” Pedro Arjona, President of Grupo DEISA underlines. DEISA works both with the private and public sector, and it helps its customers comply with the norms that are relevant for their project, as it did during the construction of the LNG terminals of Altamira and Manzanillo, which Arjona considers as breakthrough project in terms of the complexity and the knowledge acquired. The firm also works with the regulatory authorities, and in this respect, Grupo DEISA’s President believes that “ASEA should draft new norms and thoroughly revise the old ones, a process in which we hope to collaborate. The existing norms must be adapted to the national reality, and although international regulations are a useful reference, they must also be adapted to the current state of the national industry.”

Up until the opening of the energy sector to private investment, PEMEX expected external investment to further the growth of the pipeline network, but CFE decided to heavily support the development of combined cycle units instead. This caused the demand for natural gas to grow faster than its transportation system, and ultimately led to a shortage in gas supply. In turn, this convinced CFE to redirect some investment back into the pipeline network, and to connect the Mexican system with that of the US. Ever since, CRE has maintained its strategic investments in gas pipelines, which are now a core part of the national gas transportation system and have contributed to preventing the previous shortage. Not only was the country’s gas pipeline system solely operated by PEMEX up until recently, it also suffered from a lack of investment. Arjona believes that “It is imperative for PEMEX to become active in the expansion of the natural gas transportation system, as the company has the most knowledge and experience in that sector, unrivalled by other industry players.”

This restoration and expansion must become a priority for the authorities, according to Arjona. “There would be no heavy industry without natural gas,” he explains. “Power generation and manufacturing are increasingly reliant on the resource, and relevant players must safeguard supply so that it can meet the growing demand at all times.” Additionally, investment in these major projects could generate benefits for other sectors of the economy that experience less demand. “If we want to position the country as a leading economy in the world, the natural gas infrastructure needs to be strengthened so the industry and commercial sector can be stimulated,” Arjona continues. This represents a challenge and incentive for Grupo DEISA to participate in the development of the energy sector in Mexico.

For the country’s pipeline network to be efficient, there are certain features that still need to be developed, according to Arjona. “Firstly, at a national level, it is important to highlight that all players must comply with the Official Mexican Norms (NOMs). The problem in Mexico is that regulations are yet to be defined in certain areas, in which case it is advised to use international examples as a reference.” This is where Grupo DEISA can help the concessionaire, authorities, and companies, as it is specialized in the efficient implementation of international codes or norms. Every project is different and Grupo DEISA has experience balancing local and international norms.