Increasing Natural Gas Trade Between the U.S and Mexico

  • U.S. companies began exporting natural gas to Mexico via pipeline in 1988, and exports have increased significantly as the shale revolution in the U.S. produced affordable, abundant natural gas for consumers in the U.S., Mexico, and around the world.REF Liquefied natural gas (LNG)—which is transported by ship—supplements the pipeline trade in natural gas.REF Additional Mexican pipelines and LNG infrastructure will increase export opportunities for U.S. energy producers in the South and Southwest.REFConcerns over the future of U.S.–Mexico energy trade are developing, however.
  • Newly elected Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been very critical of free-market energy reforms in Mexico and wants to return to more state control.REF President López Obrador is threatening to change pipeline contracts with the Mexican government and private American and Canadian companies, creating uncertainty in current and future investments.REFThe U.S. and Mexico should build on past policies that have enabled energy trade by expanding interconnectivity, honoring contracts and respecting the rule of law, and streamlining permitting processes for natural gas infrastructure.
  • Total cross-border pipeline capacity nearly tripled since 2011, from about 4 billion cubic feet per day to about 11 billion cubic feet per day.REF The expansion has not only increased the flow of energy but also expanded natural gas to different regions throughout Mexico.REF Additionally, Mexico is accessing the U.S.'s expanded LNG capacities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.REF While piped gas from the U.S. is displacing LNG imports from other countries, Mexico is increasing LNG imports from American facilities in the Gulf Coast.REFExpanded natural gas trade is a win for both countries.

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