This is Part II of a three-part series. To get started, click here.
The race was on and Sempra Energy was losing.
In the early 2000s, with the United States and Mexico ravenous for natural gas, a coterie of large energy companies competed to build the first liquefied natural gas plant on the west coast of North America in Baja California, Mexico.
By 2003, Sempra, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in San Diego, was neck and neck with Marathon Oil. Marathon was first to secure a key permit from the Mexican government for its project, a plant on the outskirts of Tijuana. Sempra soon got its own permits for a coastal plant about 15 miles north of the port city of Ensenada. Billions of dollars in potential profits hung in the balance.