New Mexico regulators recommend to reject natural gas facility proposal

SANTA FE, N.M. — A hearing examiner for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission recommended they reject a natural gas storage facility proposed near Albuquerque.

New Mexico Gas Company proposed building a 25-acre liquefied natural gas storage facility on land just north of the Double Eagle II Airport on the West Side.

The examiner recommended against commissioners approving New Mexico Gas Company’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessary to build and operate the facility.

The examiner held a four-day public hearing on the case. During the hearing, the examiner said they built up “extensive evidence” that informed their recommendation.

Each party will have a chance to appeal it. Then, the NMPRC will review everything and decide if they’ll accept it as their decision, which will decide the fate of the facility.

This isn’t the first time the facility has faced opposition. In October, Bernalillo County commissioners approved a resolution recommending the NMPRC deny the certificate.

The company doesn’t have a storage facility in New Mexico and relies on one in West Texas.

NMGC officials said reliability issues in 2021 meant they had to spend $107 million to meet customers’ needs. They believed a facility in New Mexico would serve customers better than one in West Texas.

Supporters of the Bernalillo County resolution said improvements to the West Texas facility would cure reliability issues. They were also concerned with the risks and cost-effectiveness of building a new facility, saying its $180 million price tag would far outweigh the current costs.

If the NMPRC signs off on it, NMGC officials anticipate a late 2026 completion date for construction.

New Mexico Gas Company shared the following statement:

“The chief hearing examiner of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission today issued a recommended decision in the Company’s application for permission to build, own and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

New Mexico Gas Company is disappointed with the recommendation that the Commission should not approve a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The Company is carefully reviewing the recommended decision.

Today’s recommended decision will be discussed at an open meeting of the Commission, which will issue a final order in the next few weeks.”