Energy profile: Mexico

From Global Energy Monitor


This page is part of Global Energy Monitor's Latin America Energy Portal.
Related pages:

Fuel mix (fossil fuels vs renewables)

In 2019 Mexico derived more than 80% of its total energy supply from fossil fuels. Oil contributed 45.20%, followed by natural gas (37.84%), coal (6.44%), biofuels (5.02%), wind and solar (2.75%), nuclear (1.62%), and hydro power (1.13%).[1] Fossil fuels accounted for 66.42% of Mexico's installed capacity and 72.34% of electrical generation in 2019; additional electricity was generated by hydro (9.98%), wind (5.61%), biomass (4.82%), nuclear (3.38%), geothermal (2.05%), and solar energy (1.83%).[2]

Greenhouse gas emissions targets

As of 2018, Mexico's per capita CO2 emissions from fuel combustion (3.6 tons annually) were among the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean.[3] Mexico's NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) plan calls for a 22% reduction in GHG emissions and a 51% reduction in black carbon emissions by 2030.[4][5]

Government energy agencies & other key players

National energy agencies

SENER (Secretaría de Energía) is the Mexican government authority in charge of energy policy.

Permitting agencies

SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) is Mexico's main environmental authority, responsible for all aspects of environmental policy. Power plants and other large industrial projects are required to obtain a LAU (Licencia Ambiental Única) from SEMARNAT as a precondition of operating.[6]

PROFEPA (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente) has additional environmental protection functions.

Regulatory agencies

CRE (Comisión Reguladora de Energía) is the government regulator for Mexico's oil, natural gas, biofuels, and electricity sectors.

Electric utilities

State-owned CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad) is Mexico's national electric utility company.

CENACE (Centro Nacional de Control de Energía), a subdivision of CFE, is responsible for operating Mexico's national electrical grid.[7]

National oil & gas companies

State-owned Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) is one of Latin America's two largest petroleum companies.[8][9] It is involved in on- and offshore oil and gas development, including exploration, production, refining, and distribution.

State-owned CENAGAS (Centro Nacional de Control del Gas Natural) is in charge of Mexico's natural gas distribution and transmission.

Leading energy companies

Iberdrola, Naturgy, Sempra Energy, Fermaca, and TC Energy are among the largest private developers of energy projects in Mexico.

Electricity usage

Installed capacity

Mexico's installed capacity as of 2019 totalled 79.6 GW. Fossil fuels accounted for 66.42% of capacity (52.9 GW), followed by hydro (12.6 GW, 15.85%), wind (6 GW, 7.49%), and solar (3.5 GW, 4.37%).[2]


Mexico generated 323.8 TWh of electricity in 2019[2] and 318 TWh in 2018.[10]


Mexico consumed 271 TWh of electricity in 2018, ranking 14th in the world and 4th in the Western Hemisphere, behind the United States, Canada, and Brazil.[10]

Coal in Mexico

Domestic Production

Coal development in Mexico is concentrated in the northern state of Coahuila, which accounts for 99% of national production.[11][12] Mexico produced just over 11 million short tons of coal in 2019, ranking 23rd globally.[10]


Mexico consumed nearly 21 million short tons of coal in 2019.[10]

Imports & source countries

Despite having its own domestic production, Mexico must still import coal to supply its three large coal-fired power plants: Carbon II, José López Portillo, and Petacalco.[11] Coal is mostly sourced from Australia, Colombia, Canada and the United States.[13]

Proposed new sources

In 2020 Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has regularly prioritized domestic fossil fuels over renewable energy projects, announced a government plan to ramp up coal production in Coahuila state, purchasing 2 million tons from small producers to supply Mexico's power plants and bolster the local economy.[14][15]

Proposed new projects

A new US$1.2 billion, 1400 MW coal-fired power plant has been proposed for Coahuila state, though details remain sketchy.[16][17][18]

Oil & Natural Gas in Mexico

Domestic Production

Mexico produced 1.94 million barrels per day of petroleum and other liquids in 2020, ranking second in Latin America and the Caribbean (after Brazil) and 12th in the world.[10] In 2019, the country produced 34 billion cubic meters of dry natural gas, ranking third in the region (after Argentina and Trinidad and Tobago).[19]


Mexico consumed more than 2 million barrels per day of petroleum products in 2018, ranking 11th globally.[10] Natural gas consumption for the year totaled 2.93 trillion cubic feet (7th in the world).[10]

Imports and exports

Mexico is Latin America's second largest crude oil exporter (after Venezuela) and ranks 12th globally, with shipments totaling 1.28 million barrels per day in 2018.[10]

Mexico is the world's 7th largest importer of natural gas. Imports, which come mostly from the United States, totaled nearly 1.9 trillion cubic feet in 2018.[10] Thanks largely to the expansion of the US-Mexico pipeline system, imports have grown sharply over the last decade, and in 2018 imports surpassed domestic production for the first time to become Mexico's primary source of natural gas.[2]

Proposed new projects

A flurry of recently proposed LNG export terminal projects on Mexico's Pacific coast - including Costa Azul in Baja California, Mexico Pacific in Sonora, and Vista Pacífico in Sinaloa - seeks to capitalize on growing Asian demand and Mexico's excess natural gas capacity brought on by increased pipeline imports from the Permian Basin.[20][21][22]

Mexico's proposed Corredor Interoceánico, a massive, multi-faceted project linking Mexico's Gulf and Pacific coasts via the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, is slated to include significant expansion of the Jáltipan-Salina Cruz Pipeline, modernization of the Minatitlán and Salina Cruz refineries, and construction of major new infrastructure including the Salina Cruz LNG Terminal, the 812 MW Cogeneración Salina Cruz power station, and a deep draft port capable of serving large oil tankers in Salinas del Marqués.[23][24][25][26]


Spanning more than 17,000 kilometers, Mexico's network of natural gas pipelines is the second most extensive in Latin America (after Argentina's) and the ninth largest in the world.[27] Mexico has substantially increased imports of natural gas from the United States in recent years via the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan Gas Pipeline and the Wahalajara pipeline network, which includes the Ojinaga-El Encino, El Encino-La Laguna, La Laguna-Aguascalientes, and Villa de Reyes-Aguascalientes-Guadalajara gas pipelines. Mexico also imports natural gas via the Altamira, Costa Azul, and Manzanillo LNG terminals, and is slated to begin exporting LNG in 2024 via the new Costa Azul Export Terminal.

Iron & Steel in Mexico

Mexico is Latin America's second largest producer of iron and steel (after Brazil), with 23,006 ttpa of steelmaking capacity and 15,040 ttpa of ironmaking capacity.[28] The country's largest steelmaker, Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA) in Coahuila state, still largely relies on older, more energy-intensive blast furnace / basic oxygen furnace technology. Several other large Mexican steel plants, including ArcelorMittal Lázaro Cárdenas , Ternium San Nicolás de los Garza, Deacero Celaya, TYASA, and TenarisTamsa, have adopted the less energy-intensive electric arc furnace method, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of Mexico's steelmaking capacity.

Renewable Energy in Mexico

The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has strongly favored domestic fossil fuels over renewables, posing challenges to clean energy development. Mexico has set lofty goals for including renewables in its energy mix - 35% by 2024, 40% by 2035, and 50% by 2050 - but appears unlikely to achieve these targets.[29] Mexico has some of the highest levels of solar radiation on earth, making it a prime candidate for photovoltaic energy projects.[29]

Environmental & social impacts of energy in Mexico

Mexico's older, larger power plants -- including the coal-fired José López Portillo, Carbón II, and Petacalco and the gas-fired Manzanillo power station - are notoriously heavy polluters associated with numerous environmental, health, and safety concerns.[30][31][32] The Corredor Interoceánico del Istmo de Tehuantepec, a proposed mega-project designed to facilitate transfer of natural gas and other resources between Mexico's Gulf and Pacific coasts, has provoked sustained protests and blockades due to the developers' failure to consult with indigenous communities or obtain permission to enter their lands.[33][34][35]


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