Pemex plans gas processing plant at Poza Rica

Mexico's Pemex plans to build a gas processing plant at the Poza Rica gas complex in northern Mexico to handle 200 MMcfd of gas of expected supplies from the Chicontepec basin.

Jan 7th, 2009

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 -- Mexico's state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos plans to build a natural gas processing plant at the Poza Rica gas complex in northern Mexico to handle 200 MMcfd of gas of expected supplies from the Chicontepec basin.

Pemex said it will award the construction contract and begin work before the end of May. Construction will take 2 years.

Pemex will produce propane, butane, and gasoline at the new plant.

According to company figures, Pemex produced a record 7.24 bcfd of gas in November 2008, up 18.9% from 6.09 bcfd produced in November 2007.

While the country's natural gas production is rising, domestic demand appears to be increasing at an even faster rate.

In December, Mexico's minister of energy released a natural gas outlook for 2008-17, saying that demand grew by 6.8% in 2007 from the previous year to 6.975 bcfd while production rose by 13.1% to 6.058 bcfd.

Production is expected to reach 7.289 bcfd by 2017, while demand for the same period is expected to reach 9.374 bcfd. The largest demand growth will come from electricity providers, according to the ministry.

LNG imports to increase
To address the shortfall between domestic production and demand growth, the ministry reported that Mexico's LNG imports will reach 1.99 bcfd by 2017, up from the current 503 MMcfd.

Mexico already has two LNG regasification plants in operation, one at Altamira on the Gulf of Mexico and the other at Ensenada on the Pacific Coast. Operations at a third facility, at Manzanillo on the Pacific Coast, are due to begin in 2011.

According to industry sources, the Mexican government is considering construction of four additional regasification facilities around the country to facilitate imports.

The need for additional regasification facilities is thought to be greatest along Mexico's Pacific Coast as no pipeline grid links the region to production centers on the Gulf of Mexico.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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