WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- Planned natural gas pipelines from the United States to Mexico could double the amount of U.S. gas exports south by 2014, the U.S. Energy Department said.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said several pipeline projects planned to Mexico could add 3.5 billion cubic feet per day, double the current capacity, by 2014 if they all come on stream as projected.
The EIA said most of the U.S. natural gas bound for Mexican markets came from Texas and most likely the state's Eagle Ford shale play. From 2009-12, natural gas shipments from Texas increased 34 percent to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day.
Last year, U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico increased 24 percent to 1.69 billion cubic feet, the highest level in nearly 40 years.
"Natural gas consumption is rising faster in Mexico than natural gas production, and as a result, Mexico is relying more on natural gas imports from the United States," the EIA stated.
The Energy Department said Mexico relied on the United States for natural gas almost exclusively before 2006. Since then, however, the Mexican government has looked overseas to diversify its energy sector through imports of liquefied natural gas.