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BONATTI

MEXICO - Energy & Mining

Gustavo Blejer

Managing Director Americas, Bonatti

Bio

Gustavo Blejer started his association with Bonatti in 2021 and currently holds the role of General Manager for the Americas, from where he works with teams in Canada, Mexico, and Chile. He was part of the TransCanada (now TC Energy) team in charge of pipeline network expansion projects in Mexico as director of engineering and construction for the region. He has held various operational and commercial positions in Mexico, Canada, Argentina, and Italy. He studied at the faculty of engineering of the National University of Rosario. He holds a master’s degree in science of management from Stanford and a diploma in project management from Berkeley. He also obtained a diploma in energy law from the Escuela Libre de Derecho.

"We are seeing greater momentum for companies on both sides of the border, which ultimately means a greater need for added power producing capacity in Mexico."
Bonatti is diversifying its portfolio in Mexico by exploring businesses such as water desalination for mining, renewable energy, and hydrogen development.
What factors are behind the need for added power producing capacity in Mexico?

We are seeing greater momentum for companies on both sides of the border, which ultimately means a greater need for added power producing capacity in Mexico. There was a stalling of renewals in the last few years, though this has been partially offset by the growth in thermal and conventional power. A plan to bring energy to the Yucatán peninsula was recently confirmed, unlocking significant opportunities in the region. The addition of solar power and the Dos Bocas refinery in the Yucatán has not really helped the region—they are mainly for consumption elsewhere. Tren Maya is expected to boost tourism in the region, though without local power production, we cannot expect any sort of sustainable growth in manufacturing. In addition, everyone is talking about nearshoring, though, for this to happen, Mexico must ensure those industries have the energy supply required to operate. Mexico has become increasingly dependent on US gas in the last decade, and right now there are more projects and additional crossing points on the border that enable natural gas to reach the consumption points for power producing and use by the industrial sector.

Why is Bonatti betting on natural gas for growth?

We are betting strongly on natural gas, the expansion of the networks, and the positive ramifications of those networks. LNG exports are growing and are expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Right now, finding customers for the natural gas exports is the easiest part for developers. The tricky part is the implementation and execution. Bonatti has played a key role in the growth of the infrastructure network in Mexico, and we expect to continue to do so. Mexico is still lagging when it comes to energy security. There have been talks about gas storage for years, and Bonatti has explored this area as well. The network must continue to grow for such projects to materialize and for Mexico to reach a level of energy security somewhat similar to that in Canada and the US. There needs to be greater public-sector cooperation in terms of determining which projects are essential, permit allocations, and working with local communities to ensure the success of projects. The market, as a whole, is ready to invest and create a 15-day energy storage capacity. This is the minimum that a developed economy needs to provide guarantees to potential investors that energy supply won’t be a problem. Current energy storage capacity in Mexico is largely limited to the gas packing in pipelines, which can only last for a few days, depending on consumption.

How is Bonatti working to diversify its portfolio in Mexico?

We will continue to keep an eye out on businesses that are still not happening in Mexico, such as water desalination. We are working on that in Chile, particularly for the mining industry, and plan to do the same in Mexico. This may still seem uneconomical, though in the long term it will prove to be beneficial across all sectors. Industries that use water as an essential input, particularly the mining industry, need to start looking at alternatives. Groundwater is increasingly becoming scarcer, and lack of water table regrowth will lead to irreversible damage. Getting the mining sector to invest in the desalination and transportation of treated water can significantly benefit society. In addition, we will continue to bet on renewables. Bonatti has also been watching the development of hydrogen closely, and we expect to participate more in this in the future. The projects need to get closer to economic feasibility, though governments and markets must be willing to bet on them. We hope to start seeing legislation that will progressively facilitate the industrial sector to adopt the use of desalinated water for manufacturing and production processes.

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