Mexico has a limited capacity to store natural gas, since the country only has storage and regasification terminals located in Altamira, Tamaulipas; Ensenada, Baja California and Manzanillo, Colima; which are sufficient for an average of 2.4 days, revealed a study prepared by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO).
IMCO calculated that the storage capacity of these three terminals is 19 thousand 975 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas, which is equivalent to 2.4 days of average daily consumption observed in Mexico, established in a figure close to 8 thousand 265 MMcf.
This figure is much lower compared to other countries such as Austria, which has 318.3 days of storage, followed by France (98.8 days), Italy (93.8), Germany (89) or Spain (34.2), to mention a few.
For the think tank, the high dependence on natural gas imports from a single supplier (the United States) makes Mexico a country particularly vulnerable to abrupt changes in the supply and demand of this fuel attributable, for example, to fluctuations in weather conditions.
"An example of this were the frosts registered in Texas in February 2021 that caused a disruption of natural gas imports from that state of the American Union and, consequently, blackouts that affected more than four million users in the north of the country, as well as restrictions to the industrial consumption of this input ordered by the National Center for Natural Gas Control (Cenagas) through the issuance of a critical alert," the organization indicated.
In Mexico, only natural gas is stored in liquid form in the tanks of the three terminals mentioned above, despite the fact that there are other natural gas storage technologies to deal with contingencies of different nature, such as subway storage in gaseous form in deposits that are unviable for hydrocarbon extraction.
In 2018, the Ministry of Energy conducted a diagnosis in which it estimated that the storage capacity of the three storage terminals was insufficient to cope with various scenarios of natural gas supply disruption.