Sempra Energy’s Mexican subsidiary says objections now lodged against its Costa Azul LNG project

Friday, 18 September 2020
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Sempra Energy’s Mexican subsidiary IEnova said objections had been formally lodged against its Pacific Coast Costa Azul liquefied natural gas export plant in the nearby city of Ensenada.

Sempra plans to have two more North American export plants in addition to its existing Cameron LNG facility at Hackberry in Louisiana and these include a Texas project at Port Arthur and at Costa Azul in the Mexican state of Baja California.

Now IEnova has just announced that objections have been raised before the Office of Urban Management, Ecology and Environment of Ensenada’s city council.

IEnova said in a statement that the objections are against certain municipal permits granted in favor of the Costa Azul liquefaction project that is being developed on land adjacent to the existing LNG import terminal.

“IEnova considers that these claims are unfounded and inadmissible and will enforce their rights in the corresponding procedure, seeking to dismiss the claims of the plaintiffs,” said the company.

The objectors are two real estate companies named by IEnova as Inmuebles y Fraccionamientos Peninsulares SA and Inmobiliaria Aquino SA.

The Sempra subsidiary, whose official name is Infraestructura Energetica Nova SA , is overseeing the whole LNG project in addition to its growing Mexican business in the natural gas pipeline and energy and power sectors.

Under Sempra’s plan for the Costa Azul export plant, the facility will be constructed in two phases. 

The first part of the transformation of the plant will see the building of a single liquefaction Train to be located adjacent to the existing terminal and with capacity for 2.4 MTPA of exports.

The Mexican project has already signed three accords with French major Total and Japanese companies Mitsui & Co. and Tokyo Gas for the full export capacity of Phase 1 development at Costa Azul.

The Costa Azul venture has additionally received US authorizations for natural gas to be exported to Mexico and re-exported to Non-Free Trade Agreement countries. 

Costa Azul was the first LNG import terminal on North America's West Coast and was built in 2008. It is located 15 miles north of Ensenada and with bi-directional pipeline connections to the US.

The Costa Azul facility previously benefited from south-to-north flows on the North Baja pipeline. However, north-to-south flows on the West Coast now predominate.

Sempra’s IEnova unit continues to be a main natural gas pipeline developer in Mexico.

Among its assets are its stake in the South Texas-Tuxpan pipeline bringing US natural gas to the southern Gulf Coast side of the country.

This pipeline is seen as fundamental to maintaining a reliable gas service in the southeast of Mexico with 2.6 billion cubic feet per day of capacity.

The pipeline crosses part of the Gulf of Mexico from Texas and was built at a cost of $2.5 billion. It is owned by IEnova and Canadian pipeline company TC Energy.

The South Texas-Tuxpan pipeline is inter-connected to the Valley Crossing Pipeline in Texas completed by Enbridge Inc., another Canadian company like TC Energy and based in Calgary.

The 168-mile Valley Crossing pipeline runs from the Agua Dulce hub in Texas to the Gulf of Mexico east of the port of Brownsville. 

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