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Enbridge starts natural gas pipeline construction at US-Mexico border

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World Pipelines,

Reuters are reporting that Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc. started construction of the offshore border crossing section of its US$1.6 billion Valley Crossing natural gas pipeline between Texas and Mexico, according to a US federal filing made available on Wednesday.

The company said in an email the pipeline remains on track to enter service in October.

The latest filing pertains to a 1000 ft (305 m) section of offshore pipe that extends to the US-Mexico border. The remaining 165 miles of onshore and offshore pipe has been completed and commissioning activities will commence in the near future, Enbridge spokesman Devin Hotzel said in an email.

The Valley Crossing project is designed to carry up to 2.6 billion ft3/d of gas from Texas to help Mexico meet its growing power needs as generators there shift away from fuel oil and imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).

1 billion ft3 is enough to fuel about five million US homes for a day.

The Valley Crossing project has been under construction since April 2017, according to the Enbridge website.

Valley Crossing will connect in the Gulf of Mexico to the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan pipeline under construction by a joint venture between units of TransCanada Corp and Sempra Energy. Once complete, it will be the biggest gas pipe between the two countries.

There are already approximately 20 pipelines that can move gas from the US to Mexico with a total capacity of around 10.9 billion ft3/d, according to US energy data.

That includes Howard Energy’s 0.6 billion ft3/d Impulsora pipeline in Texas, which is expected to enter service this month.

Analysts have said, however, that constraints on the Mexican side of the border have so far limited a big increase in US pipeline exports.

Since the start of the year, US exports to Mexico have averaged 4.0 billion ft3/d, up slightly from the 3.9 billion ft3/d average during the same period in 2017, according to Thomson Reuters data.

While the pipeline constraints remain, Mexican energy companies have been buying more US LNG than any other country since February 2016 when the first US LNG export terminal opened in the lower 48 states at Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana.

Mexico bought 50 cargoes of LNG totalling 167.8 billion ft3/d of gas from the US, 18.8% of total US LNG exports between February 2016 through the end of 2017.

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