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Mexico’s Presidential Hopeful Bets on Natural Gas and Solar

The frontrunner in Mexico’s next presidential elections, Claudia Sheinbaum, will invest billions in new natural gas generation capacity and solar power, Bloomberg has reported, citing a plan presented to local business leaders.

The plan also includes upgrading hydropower capacity and expanding Mexico’s grid with 3,850 km of new transmission lines.

Sheinbaum will also continue supporting state-owned oil major Pemex but will not focus on this as exclusively as incumbent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador does. Her energy plan will cost $13.6 billion.

“We are going to accelerate the energy transition,” Sheinbaum said Monday, as quoted by Bloomberg. “Going forward, we are working on this energy plan not just with an eye on 2030, but also through 2050 to align with international commitments on climate change.”

“We have the possibility and potential to develop Mexico in a way that generates investment with well-being,” the presidential candidate also said. “At the same time, that development does not have to negatively impact the environment.”

Sheinbaum’s energy plan envisages the addition of some 13.7 GW of new power generation capacity to the grid over the next six years, with a portion of this coming from solar installations. For context, Mexico is set to add 3.3 GW in new capacity from gas and solar this year.

The country’s current president is not a fan of either wind or solar. During his term he focused on propping up Pemex and developing local refining capacity so more of Mexico’s oil can stay at home, replacing costlier imports of fuels.

The flagship project of that plan, the Dos Bocas refinery, entered operation a few months ago and is in the process of ramping up. As a result, Pemex has started curbing crude oil exports and redirecting them to local processing facilities. For next month, the company has said exports would be 330,000 bpd lower. The company has been struggling with natural depletion at its fields and a lack of sufficient new oil discoveries.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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