CFE Sees 3 LNG Terminals Required by 2010 in Mexico

Mexico will need at least three liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to be operating by 2010 to assure power supplies, said Eugenio Laris, director of financed investment projects at state power company CFE.

The country will need 60-63 new power plants by that date to meet anticipated demand growth of 5.6%, Laris told BNamericas; "of which the majority are going to be powered by gas."

The new plants will add 25,000MW capacity and bring the country's total number of plants to some 250, CFE director Alfredo Elías Ayub said.

Ayub and Laris spoke to BNamericas outside an energy sector round table in Mexico City. The industrial sector accounts for some 60% of the country's power demand, and the commercial sector is increasing its power usage, Elías said. Gas is a clean, efficient and relatively inexpensive form of energy, making it "a very competitive energy," Laris said.

At present, the CFE buys its gas from state oil company Pemex, which either produces it itself or imports from the US. But because of insufficient gas production in Mexico, the CFE tendered the construction of an LNG terminal and supply of LNG at Altamira on the Caribbean coast, and is expected to call a similar tender for a terminal on the Pacific coast, probably at Manzanillo.

"We hope that in the first quarter of next year we'll call the Manzanillo tender," Laris said, adding that a final decision on location has not been made, but that Manzanillo would be the most convenient location.

Previous reports have indicated that the Manzanillo terminal would have a 500 million cubic feet a day initial capacity, eventually increasing to 1 billion cubic feet a day.

Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell owns 50% of the Altamira terminal project, France's Total has 25% and Japan's Mitsui has 25%. The regasification capacity belongs to Shell (75%) and Total (25%).

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