Arizona, New Mexico and Sonora team up on deal to ship natural gas to Asia

PHOENIX – The governors of Arizona, New Mexico and Sonora, Mexico, signed an agreement Wednesday promoting the transport of natural gas from New Mexico to growing markets in Asia.

The four-year pact promises to promote the production and transmission of natural gas produced in New Mexico, which is to be piped through Arizona to Sonoran ports on the Sea of Cortez, where it will be processed and sent to Asia. It was signed by Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Claudia Pavlovich of Sonora and Susana Martinez of New Mexico.

“This mainly was a big win for the region, in the sense that New Mexico has the gas, and the pipeline runs through Arizona,” said Juan Ciscomana, senior adviser to Ducey for regional and international affairs, “and then it goes into the middle coastal part of Sonora, where it’s going to be liquefied and then shipped over as an export of Sonora into Asian countries.”

By collaborating, the three states are taking advantage of growing demand for natural gas in Asia, he said.

However, although the natural gas already is available and the pipelines already in place, facilities for storage and liquefaction still need to be built in Sonora before shipments can begin, Ciscomana said.

“Now it’s on Sonora, really, for this facility to continue to be built. It’s already starting,” he said. “So hopefully we can see this be truly and finally materialized in the next three years.”

New Mexico’s natural gas is currently sent to Houston where it is shipped to Asian markets from the Gulf of Mexico and through the Panama Canal. The new route planned in this four-year cross-border pact would make shipments faster and more efficient.

This story is part of Elemental: Covering Sustainability, a multimedia collaboration between Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal.

Connect with us on Facebook.