Investors who are craving some exposure to emerging markets should look no further than TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP)(NYSE:TRP). The company recently announced another expansion to its pipeline business in Mexico by partnering with Mexico’s first independent oil and gas company.
The companies will jointly develop storage and transportation infrastructure to serve the growing demand for refined products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel in the central region of Mexico and surrounding markets.
TransCanada will hold a 50% interest in the proposed $800 million project, which would be the largest single investment in refined products since the privatization of some of Mexico’s largest energy assets. It will have a capacity of approximately 100,000 barrels per day of refined products, connecting an inland storage and distribution hub in central Mexico to a marine terminal near Tuxpan, Veracruz.
This is important, considering Mexico imported 44% of the U.S. exported gasoline products in 2014–a number which is expected to grow as demand continues to exceed domestic supply.
This latest announcement comes after TransCanada’s June 2016 news release confirming that it had been chosen to build, own, and operate a $2.7 billion natural gas pipeline in Mexico. The project was secured by a 25-year natural gas transportation service contract.
Currently, more than 30% of Mexico’s electricity is generated using less cost-effective fuels, including heating oil. The country is looking to transition away from these fuel types as it constructs dozens of natural gas–fired power plants across the country.
Unfortunately, Mexico’s growing demand for natural gas will significantly outpace any efforts to produce it domestically, which means heavily relying on the U.S. as its primary source. Mexico imported a record amount of natural gas in May 2016, totaling 104,633 million cubic feet. The International Energy Agency predicts Mexico’s gas consumption will increase 64% from 2013 to 2017. The majority of this gas is for power generation.
Moody’s forecasts the Mexican economy will expand by 2.5% this year, driven by consumption and supported by wage and job growth. Fitch Ratings also expects the economy to grow 2.4% this year, increasing to 3% on average in 2017 and 2018. To sustain the country’s growing economy and energy demand, the Mexican government implemented a four-year, $411 billion plan for infrastructure investments targeting energy, transportation, and other projects.
It’s not just energy companies entering this market. Some of the more influential names in Canada’s private equity sector have been expressing interest in investing in Mexico’s growing energy sector.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Public Sector Pension Investment Board, and Borealis Infrastructure Corp. have formed a consortium to make an offer for a minority stake in TransCanada’s Mexican pipeline business. Enbridge Inc. has also explored opportunities in the region and may continue to do so as Canadian companies warm up to the energy investment climate in the country.
TransCanada is taking the aggressive approach to the growing Mexican economy and demand for energy. By 2018 the company has the goal of operating seven major natural gas pipeline systems in Mexico, representing approximately a $6.5 billion investment. It’s doesn’t come without its risks, which is why investors can assume the company is including a favourable risk premium on all of these investments that should pay substantial dividends in the future.