Today, the Energy Regulatory Commission (Comisión Reguladora de Energía) ("CRE") published in the Federal Register (Diario Oficial de la Federación) a resolution (acuerdo) that amends the general administrative provisions on open access for natural gas pipeline transportation and storage services, published back in January 13, 2016 (the "NG Open Access Rules").

The purpose of these amendments is twofold: (a) simplification of the open season procedures carried out on natural gas transportation, storage and integrated systems; and (b) clarification of the rules related to the secondary capacity market, specifically on capacity releases and related open season procedures.

The main changes introduced by these amendments to the NG Open Access Rules are the following:

(i) Open season procedures shall be included and approved by the CRE as part of the General Terms of Service ("GTS") of the relevant permit holder;

(ii) The cases where an open season procedure is mandatory are narrower, allowing the release of capacity that has already been part of an open season procedure, without the need to carry out a new open season;

(iii) New provisions have been introduced aimed at fostering the publicity and transparency of open seasons;

(iv) All capacity releases for a term shorter than the one established in the original firm transportation agreement are considered temporary capacity releases (cesiones temporales), so the 6-months rule for temporary releases is no longer applicable;

(v) The amendments clarify that capacity releases amongst users may be freely agreed, but the applicable service rates shall continue being paid to the transporter or storage company;

(vi) Provisions are included for purposes of outlining the information that transporters and storage companies shall publish in their Electronic Bulletins, and requiring them to submit before the CRE a proposal of the fees for rendering services related to open seasons and other types of capacity releases, as well as the estimated costs arising from technical adjustments related to changes in the injection and extraction points; and

(vii) The NG Open Access Rules are restated for purposes of incorporating the amendments made under several resolutions previously published by the CRE, including those related to the cases on which permit holders may be exempted from performing open seasons and the distinction amongst transportation and distribution systems.

All transportation and storage permit holders shall file with the CRE, within 90 business days as of tomorrow:

a) the proposed amendments to their GTS in order to include the new open season procedures, and

b) their proposal of fees for rendering services related to open seasons and other mechanisms to release of capacity, as well as the estimated costs arising from technical adjustments related to changes in the injection and extraction points.

The amendments to the Open Access Rules will be effective as of tomorrow.

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