ICYMI: Congressman Cuellar Op-Ed "Mexican energy reform helps North America"

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Washington, December 18, 2013 | comments

The discovery of shale oil in Texas has been a boon for the economy of our state, creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars. In 2012 alone, the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas created over $61 billion in economic impact across a 20-county region, supported over 116,000 full-time jobs and generated $3.1 billion in salaries.

I traveled to Mexico City last month and met with Mexican Congressman Marco Gonzalez, who set up meetings for me with Mexican members of Congress and the administration. I reminded Mexican authorities that the shale oil and gas reserves do not stop at the Rio Grande River.

Mexico has huge untapped resources of oil and gas. Mexico is the third-largest oil producer in the Western Hemisphere, after Brazil and Venezuela, and is among the top 10 in the world. It is believed that Mexico has the fourth-largest shale oil reserves in the world. But Petróleos Mexicanos, or PEMEX, the state-owned oil company, is unable to match the U.S. production due to the constitutional limits placed on foreign investment in oil and gas production and extraction.

The Enrique Peña Nieto administration has been among the most innovative and forward looking in Mexico's history. Earlier this month, Congress approved an electoral reform package that paved the way for a historic energy reform, passed this week.

During my recent trip to Mexico, I met with the coordinator of the ruling PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), Congressman Manlio Beltrones, who has pushed the president's legislation in a very efficient manner. He explained that the Mexican Congress would enact energy reform in exchange for electoral reform allowing members to run for re-election.

This kind of exchange is emblematic of how the Peña Nieto administration does business — pragmatic, willing to compromise, and bent on achieving results. It should be an example for all of us on how to run a government.

The energy reform opens up the state-controlled oil sector to allow private investors to team up with oil monopoly Pemex and share in profits of exploration and production. Pemex has estimated the country needs more than $60 billion a year in investment to tap the country's potential. There are companies from the U. S. and other countries ready to inject capital into Mexico's energy sector and tap into the country's underdeveloped oil and gas reserves.

This legislation will go a long way toward moving North America closer to energy independence. It is time to work closely with our southern neighbor to achieve common goals of growth and energy production. With these changes, the United States, Canada and Mexico will become a powerhouse of oil and energy production and the new Middle East of the world.


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Tags: Mexico