Oct 25 (Reuters) - Infraestructura Energetica Nova SAB de CV's (IENOVA) chief executive said the company expects to make a final investment decision (FID) to build the first phase of its Costa Azul liquefied natural gas export plant in Mexico in early 2020:
* Previously, the company, a unit of California energy company Sempra Energy, had said it planned to make a FID in late 2019.
* Tania Ortiz Mena Lopez Negrete, IENOVA's CEO, told analysts in an earnings call on Thursday that the company was running the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bid process in order to select a contractor and determine the capital expenditure for the facility.
* She said that bid process will be ongoing through the end of the year.
* She also said the company was in the process of negotiating definitive agreements with its customers, Total SA of France and Mitsui & Co and Tokyo Gas Co Ltd of Japan.
* In addition she said the company was in the process of obtaining the last major permit needed for the project in Mexico - the gas export permit.
* The company has said the project, located in Baja California, could make its first LNG deliveries in 2023.
* Costa Azul is one of dozens of LNG export projects under development in North America that are seeking to supply the world's growing demand for natural gas.
* If built, Costa Azul will have an advantage over most U.S. projects because it will be much closer to Asian markets, like China, where demand for gas is growing fastest as homes and businesses switch from dirty coal to cleaner gas for environmental reasons.
* The first phase of Costa Azul is designed to be a single-train liquefaction facility capable of producing about 2.4 million tonnes per year (MTPA) of LNG, equal to about 0.32 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas.
* The facility will be located at the company's existing LNG import terminal, which can process about 1 bcfd of gas. The import facility has been operating since 2008.
* One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.
* In addition to Costa Azul phase 1, Sempra is also developing a second phase at Costa Azul, the Port Arthur LNG export terminal in Texas and two phases at the Cameron LNG export terminal in Louisiana.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy