Photo: Orissa Post

By KELIN DILLON

On Monday, July 18, Mexican Judge Juan Pablo Gómez Fierro ruled in favor of suspending the Mexican Secretariat of Energy’s policy requiring users of the Integrated National Transportation and Storage System of Natural Gas (Sistrangas) to certify the reception of their supply with one of the State Productive Companies or its affiliates.

The policy essentially forced new applicants and users into contracts with state-owned companies, removing the choice of which company users patronize and eliminating free-market competition in the natural gas sector. 

Likewise, the energy policy could cause permit holders who acquired gas outside of state-owned companies to be barred from using Mexico’s Sistrangas gas transportation service, which could alter the system’s perceived reliability and security as a result.

Rival energy producers to Mexico’s state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) were also affected by the policy, as the companies would be required to obtain natural gas for their production process from the CFE itself, granting the CFE an undue advantage over its competition without ascertaining the CFE’s efficiency beforehand.

As a result, companies GDF Suez México Comercializadora, Mexi-Gas Consortium, Tractabel Digaqro, Tractabel DGJ, Tractabel GNP, Natgasmex, Tamauligas, Engie San Miguel de Allende, Peninsular Natural Energy and GE Gaseco Gnv Golgo Region brought the matter to court in hopes of receiving a legal injunction (amparo), which was eventually granted by Gómez Fierro citing violations of Articles 16, 25 and 28 of the Mexican Constitution.

While announcing his decision, Gómez Fierro – Mexico’s Second District Judge in Administrative Matters Specialized in Economic Competition, Broadcasting and Telecommunications – said that the amparo would stop authorities from executing the “supply guarantee strategy for optimizing capacity” and prevent sanctions against users who do not comply with the government’s now-suspended policy.

“Continuing with the policy could cause disruptions in the natural gas supply chain, causing price increases and deterioration in the conditions of natural gas supply, which would impact the final consumers, as the costs of said fuel are transferred to them,” read Gómez Fierro’s decision.

Gómez Fierro has previously ruled on matters of Mexican energy policy, including freezing state-owned gas company Petróleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) pricing monopoly in June, 2021, and ruling President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) electricity policy as unconstitutional this past August.

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