Mexico approves plans for three more liquefied natural gas terminals
    The Mexican government has granted permits for three liquefied natural gas terminals, two on the Baja California coast and one in the Gulf of Mexico, the Energy Ministry said Monday.
    One permit was granted for a unit of San Diego, California-based Sempra Energy, and two for units of Royal Dutch/Shell.
    In April, the first such permit was issued to Marathon Oil Corp. for a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, terminal near Tijuana, in Baja California.
    Sempra’s Energia Costa Azul project would involve two 165,000 cubic-meter tanks near Ensenada that would have a gas supply capacity of 1 billion cubic feet a day, with investment of $669 million, the ministry said.
    Sempra said it plans to begin construction in 2004 and start operations in 2007.
    Shell got a permit for an LNG project in Baja California, with two storage tanks of 170,000 cubic meters each and an expected investment of $747 million dollars and start-up in 2007.
    In the Gulf coast port of Altamira, near the U.S. border, Shell got a permit for two storage tanks, each with a capacity of 150,000 cubic meters of LNG, and a pipeline connecting it to the national pipeline system.
    The project is expected to involve investment of $370 million, and go into operation in late 2006. Its main customers will be power plants in the northeastern region of Mexico, the ministry said.
    The Energy Ministry said Mexico’s natural gas demand is expected to grow between 7 percent and 8 percent a year between 2002 and 2011, with growth led by the electricity and industrial sectors.
    Mexico’s natural gas imports have been racing ahead of production by state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, and imports are on the rise.