Oct 23 (Reuters) - Infraestructura Energética Nova SAB de CV
(IEnova) still expects to get an export permit from
Mexico soon that will allow it to make a final investment
decision (FID) this year to build its Costa Azul liquefied
natural gas (LNG) export plant.
IEnova, a unit of U.S. energy company Sempra Energy,
has been waiting for that 20-year export permit all year. It has
been held up in part by the coronavirus.
"We continue to work closely with the federal government to
obtain the export permit and ... have final investment decision
shortly," IEnova Chief Executive Tania Ortíz Mena López Negrete
told analysts in an earnings call on Thursday.
Oil and gas companies around the world have pushed back
decisions this year to build new LNG terminals after global
demand for energy collapsed due to the coronavirus.
Investment demand in LNG had been running high for several
years due to heavy consumption from mostly Asian countries to
meet growing energy demand and diversify fuel sources away from
dirty coal toward cleaner gas and renewables.
Costa Azul's Pacific Coast location gives it an advantage
over U.S. Gulf Coast export facilities in reaching those Asian
markets. U.S. plants usually ship LNG to Asia through the Panama
At the start of 2020, a dozen or so North American LNG
developers said they planned to make FIDs to build projects by
the end of this year. Currently, however, that total is down to
just two, and some analysts have said they expect only Costa
Azul to actually go forward this year.
Sempra and IEnova plan to build the export facility,
expected to cost about $1.9 billion, at the existing Costa Azul
LNG import plant, which entered service in 2008.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino
Editing by Marguerita Choy)