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Sustainability 2100
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Mexico's Rise in the Global LNG Market

As we reflect on the 52nd Anniversary of the Stockholm Conference, a landmark event that initiated global environmental diplomacy and heightened awareness of critical environmental concerns, it's imperative to recognize Latin America's strides in clean energy, particularly focusing on Mexico's burgeoning role in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector. In the wake of significant global shifts and rising demand, Mexico is emerging as a key player in the clean energy narrative, leveraging its geographical and infrastructural advantages to position itself as a potential pivotal exporter of LNG.

LNG is created through a process where natural gas is transformed into a liquid state by cooling it to an astonishingly cold temperature of -162°C. This cooling process results in a significant reduction in volume, shrinking it by a factor of 600. This remarkable transformation enables LNG to be efficiently transported by sea to destinations across the globe. To put it simply, a single LNG vessel has the capacity to transport what would require 600 conventional natural gas vessels.1

While the process itself is not new, what's truly noteworthy is the recent surge in global demand for LNG. Beginning in 2025, a notable wave of new LNG export projects is set to reshape gas markets by adding 250 billion cubic meters of liquefaction capacity annually by 2030, a development characterized as "unprecedented" by the IEA.2

LNG has gained traction, spurred by significant geopolitical developments. For instance, Russia's invasion of Ukraine disrupted gas supplies, compelling countries to seek alternatives3 like North American LNG, with Mexico among them. Additionally, the Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea disrupted a critical route, prompting numerous LNG exporting companies to halt their use of this pathway.4

The current energy landscape highlights the critical importance of reliable and uninterrupted energy sources. Energy security goes beyond mere power supply; it drives economies, supports industries, and ensures the well-being of communities worldwide. Recognizing LNG's central role as a cleaner fossil fuel is not only about acknowledging its environmental benefits but also understanding its adaptability, global accessibility, and its pivotal contribution to the broader goal of transitioning to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. LNG serves as a valuable tool in addressing energy security, reducing emissions, and ensuring a reliable energy supply while we work towards a greener future.

Once a significant LNG importer, Mexico is now poised to the world's fourth-largest LNG exporter by the decade's end.5 It's not merely responding to current demands; instead, it's actively shaping the future of energy distribution in the region. This transformation is propelled by Mexico's strategic advantages, notably its proximity to U.S. natural gas basins such as the Permian, Haynesville, and Eagle Ford, granting access to some of the world's most competitively priced natural gas.

Furthermore, Mexico boasts a well-established infrastructure that has evolved over 25 years, making it well-positioned for this transition towards becoming a major LNG exporter. The country's effective utilization of existing natural gas pipeline connections with the U.S., along with its extensive pipeline network, reflects its forward-thinking energy planning. The decision by the Biden administration in January 2024 to suspend U.S. LNG export approvals has further accelerated this opportunity.6 Mexico's emerging role as an export hub holds the potential to serve European and Asian markets, bridging continents across the Atlantic and Pacific. This not only aligns with Mexico's LNG export ambitions but also contributes to enhancing global energy diversity and security. This pivotal moment offers Mexico a unique opportunity to play a vital role as exporters of this invaluable resource.

Mexico's LNG export initiatives, spearheaded by New Fortress Energy, are poised to launch at the conclusion of 2023, situated off the coast of Altamira in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, within the Gulf of Mexico. This groundbreaking project alone is anticipated to export a substantial 1.4 million tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG. Furthermore, another New Fortress Energy project, based onshore in Altamira, is slated to commence operations by the close of 2025, with projections to export 2.8 MTPA of LNG each year.7 These endeavors are expected to serve the European markets.

Mexico's Pacific coast is currently witnessing the construction of liquefaction terminals aimed primarily at serving Asian markets. These include Sahuaro Energía, operated by Mexico Pacific Limited, in Puerto Libertad, located in the northwestern State of Sonora. It is anticipated to have an impressive annual LNG export capacity of 15 MTPA.8

Another significant project is Energía Costa Azul, operated by Sempra and situated in Ensenada, Baja California. This facility is set to commence operations in 2025 and will have a capacity to export 3 MTPA. Additionally, there's Vista Pacífico, also to be operated by Sempra, located in Topolobampo, in the northwestern State of Sinaloa, with an estimated annual export capacity of approximately 3.5 MTPA.9

Lastly, Amigo LNG, operated by LNG Alliance and located in Guaymas, Sonora, on Mexico's west coast, will initially export 4.2 MTPA with the potential to add a second train of 3.6 MTPA of LNG to the Asian LNG market. These ventures solidify Mexico's burgeoning role as a major player in the global LNG export landscape.10

Natural gas transportation activities also play a pivotal role in Mexico's LNG export activities. TC Energy, for instance, is at the forefront of developing the Southeast Gateway Pipeline, a crucial infrastructure project that will connect natural gas to southeast Mexico. This initiative promises not only significant social and economic benefits to the less developed regions of Mexico but also facilitates the development of projected LNG export facilities in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, located on the Gulf coast. Additionally, it creates the potential for interconnections with third-party pipelines, ultimately extending the reach of natural gas to Salina Cruz in Oaxaca, on the Pacific coast.11

As the world navigates today's complex energy challenges, Mexico may play a significant strategic regional role in North America as a provider of energy security. Mexico's potential rise in the global LNG market represents a beacon of hope for nations seeking to diversify their energy supplies and reduce dependencies on unstable regions. By linking North American energy producers with demand markets in Europe and Asia, Mexico may enhance energy security, spur economic growth, and foster resilience.

In conclusion, Mexico's role in the LNG industry symbolizes not only commercial ventures but also a model for Latin America and beyond. This transition aligns with global efforts to shift away from polluting energy sources and supports broader sustainable energy objectives. It represents a lifeline for nations striving for energy security and stability in an ever-changing world.

In commemorating the 52nd Anniversary of the Stockholm Conference, it's essential to celebrate past achievements and look ahead to the opportunities before us. Mexico's journey in the LNG sector is a prime example of how innovation, coupled with strategic geographic and infrastructural advantages, can lead to a more sustainable secure, and interconnected energy future.


1 Energy Information Administration. 2022. "Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)."

2 International Energy Agency. 2023. "World Energy Outlook 2023."

3 S&P Global Market Insights. 2023. "How the Russia-Ukraine War Is Turning Natural Gas into the New Oil."

4 The Economic Times. 2022. "Explainer: How Could Red Sea Attacks Affect Oil and Gas Shipping?"

5 Bloomberg. 2022. "Mexico Plans to Become LNG Export Hub Using American-Drilled Natural Gas."

6 Financial Times. 2024. "Joe Biden halts permits for LNG projects under climate campaign pressure."

7 Mexico Business News. 2023. "New Fortress Energy Considers LNG Export Facility in Mexico."

8 Mexico Pacific. 2024. "A closer future."

9 Sempra. 2022. "Sempra Infrastructure Receives Export Licenses for Two LNG Projects."

10 LNG Alliance. 2024. "Amigo LNG. LNG Simplified." 

11 TC Energy. 2022. "TC Energy and Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad Announce a First-of-its-Kind Strategic Partnership to Develop World-Class Energy Infrastructure in Mexico."

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