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MEXICO - Energy & Mining

Jennifer Pierce

President, TC Energía

Bio

Jennifer Pierce is President of TC Energía for TC Energy Corporation. She joined TC Energía as senior vice-president human resources in 2019. Previously, Pierce was an executive with TransAlta and held a series of progressively senior roles. Previously, she was director of investor relations for Nova Chemicals and vice-president, strategy, performance management, investor relations, and communications for Provident Energy Trust. She previously held leadership roles in communications, strategy, and planning at Duke Energy and Williams Gas Pipelines. Pierce has worked internationally with energy companies in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. She began her career working in legislative affairs and public affairs at the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) in Washington, D.C. She has an MBA at Rice University, as well as a master’s degree in political administration from George Washington University and a BS in communication sciences from Boston University.

"When thinking about energy security and the energy transition, we need to think about it from a continental point of view."
Riding on its success in bringing natural gas infrastructure to Mexico in the last few decades, TC Energía is now focusing on advancing a strategy to complete infrastructure development in across the entire country, especially the south.
Why should energy security be viewed as an issue that requires a regional solution?

When thinking about energy security and the energy transition, we need to think about it from a continental point of view. There is a tremendous opportunity to promote greater North American energy security and integration of our natural gas markets. Natural gas is a cornerstone of both the Canadian and American markets. The advancement of natural gas, which replaced coal, underpins the electricity system in both Canada and the US, which is why they can now look at significant investments in renewable energy. Mexico is in a different position; the government is trying to modernize the electricity grid and promote more clean low-cost energy in regions of the country that have not been part of the prosperity message. There is a great deal of development in Mexico in the north, more than in the central part of the country; however, much more is required in the south. For 30 years, we have been part of bringing natural gas infrastructure to Mexico to strengthen the electricity grid. Now, as part of our investment in partnership with CFE, we are advancing a strategy to complete infrastructure development in the central part of the country and bring gas to the southeast. CFE is investing in natural gas combined cycle generation, which is critical to providing energy transmission reliability and, subsequently, industrial growth. What I see in Mexico is a transition that is fit for purpose for this country, and it could give it an advantage. There is a tremendous opportunity for renewables in this country once we get the grid working.

In what ways are you working with CFE to further develop energy infrastructure in the country?

For the last 85 years, CFE has been the country’s electric utility, and we have been a provider of service to CFE for almost 30 years. We have built several other pipelines and served CFE with gas in the central and western parts of the country, as well with our offshore pipeline. We have also become partners in the TGNH Southeast Gateway pipeline system, which includes our Tamazunchale pipeline and our Tula-Villa de Reyes pipeline, which is currently under construction. We have received a final investment decision to build our second offshore pipeline that will bring natural gas from the Tuxpan area down to Veracruz and into Tabasco. It is a partnership whereby CFE will own equity, the first time the Mexican government will have equity in a private company. This project will bring gas to a region that does not have a reliable source of natural gas and will bring tremendous social benefits. The Southeast Gateway is supposed to be in service in May 2025, and we are currently working on land acquisition and permits. We have ordered USD2 billion worth of pipes and have suppliers set up in Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Tabasco. There is a great deal of activity now, and it is a tight schedule.

What are the most important factors behind a successful partnership with the public sector?

There are three things to look for. One, you have to have strong fundamentals. The supply growth or demand growth in Mexico is tremendous. Electricity demand in the southeast alone will grow 10% per year. The second thing you need is a good contract. We were able to work collaboratively to negotiate strong contracts with CFE. We took a collaborative approach to look at what we both need. We need something we can finance while it needs something that can stand the test of an audit and a regime change. The third thing is the support of the government. We invest in Canada, the US, and Mexico, and in Mexico we have had overwhelming support from this government at the state and federal levels to advance this project. That is absolutely critical. Those three things all happened to line up, and we were able to advance our partnership.

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