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Corpus Christi Pipeline Biggest Between 2 Countries

A map of the Valley Crossing Pipeline between Agua Dulce near Corpus Christi and Mexico, which connects to a much longer pipeline sending natural gas into Mexico. Courtesy image

The biggest oil and gas pipeline between two countries is now moving up to 2.6 billion cubic-feet of natural gas per day from the Corpus Christi area to Mexico. The 165-mile-long Valley Crossing Pipeline is owned and operated by Enbridge in Canada. It connects to a 450-foot pipeline owned by Mexico.

The pipeline begins at a gas hub in Aqua Dulce near Corpus Christi and continues to an underwater area in the Gulf of Mexico just east of Brownsville. Several feet below the sea floor, Valley Crossing connects with the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan Pipeline, which moves the product from the border to the Mexican state of Veracruz. The natural gas is used to operate power plants for Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), the country’s state-owned utility.

Valley Crossing Pipeline was completed in October 2018 but has been waiting for the Mexican portion to be finished before going into full operation.

The new pipeline will help meet growing demands for natural gas south of the border. According to industry reports, production in Mexico has declined 7 percent from October 2017 and 21 percent since 2016. Mexico has turned to cheap natural gas alternatives from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford shale plays for supplies.

“Mexico imports much of its natural gas needs now,” said Kurt Knight-Turcan, business development lead for Valley Crossing. “Its total market is eight (billion cubic-feet) a day with about 5.5 Bcf coming from the U.S. A lot of that is from Texas.”

Valley Crossing is expected to supply about half of the CFE’s total import capacity — more than 10 percent of the average daily production for the entire state of Texas. That equals half the average daily production output of the entire Eagle Ford shale basin, according to Enbridge.

The pipeline will be a boon for the oil and gas industry in Texas and the United States, according to a recent study by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

According to the study, the economic impact for South Texas over the next 35 years is expected to be about $19 million.

“For the first time in many years, there’s currently more overall natural gas supply than demand in the U.S.,” Knight-Turcan said. “The U.S. needs export markets. Valley Crossing is helping to expand those markets.”

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