Mexico still on the cusp of an energy revolution

Photo by Daniel Lobo

Despite the recent global drop in oil prices, Mexico’s historic energy reform — which will open our oil and natural gas market to private foreign and domestic investment — remains a key plank in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s economic agenda.

It will also be a catalyst for greater integration between Texas and the critical Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Tamaulipas borders Texas from the Gulf Coast cities of Matamoros and Brownsville to Nuevo Laredo and Laredo. We’re a resource-rich state that is taking steps to become Mexico’s energy hub, including planning for the economic development and growth associated with increased energy production. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the development of our energy sector provides the people of Tamaulipas with new business opportunities, creates jobs and grows our economy.

Twenty percent of Tamaulipas’ GDP is energy-related. We’re one of Mexico’s top energy-producing states, responsible for 13 percent of Mexico’s electricity generation, more than a third of the country’s nonassociated natural gas production and 80 percent of oil-derived resin production. The state has abundant conventional, unconventional and alternative energy sources and substantial refining and petrochemical assets. Our geography gives us the resources and the strategic location to serve as the center of the Mexican energy industry.

As governor, I’m committed to seeing the state’s energy sector developed responsibly and in a way that benefits our population. That’s why we developed the Strategic Energy Blueprint for Tamaulipas, a comprehensive plan unveiled in September intended to guide the public and private sectors in areas like human capital, research and technological development, infrastructure, investment promotion, environmental sustainability and risk management. I’m proud that Tamaulipas is on the forefront of these planning efforts in Mexico.

We've also emphasized establishing international educational partnerships. Exchanges between leading universities in Tamaulipas and Texas will allow both of our states to better develop and prepare a workforce that is familiar with and responsive to economic needs.

Tamaulipas has signed agreements with the University of Texas at Austin to study best practices on water, roads and urban planning, and with Texas A&M International University to focus on human capital development. These agreements, and others on the horizon, will allow our state to learn from Texas on energy development, apply best practices and be at the vanguard of new technology, especially for water use.

We’re also working to gain insight into the opportunities and challenges that increased energy production will bring to Tamaulipas. Texas, again, is a key partner in this effort. We’ve tapped into the expertise of industry, business and community leaders — including Railroad Commission Chairman David Porter — who, like us, understand the need to maximize the strategic relationship between our two states. Porter, in fact, recently visited Tamaulipas to discuss opportunities for companies in both states.

The drop in global oil prices over the past several months has prompted a few mid-course corrections in the restructuring of Mexico’s energy sector. In Tamaulipas, we’re taking advantage of this slightly slower pace of reform to prepare for the development and growth, and we’re eager for Texas’ business community to see our progress and the opportunities that are opening up in our state. The time to invest in Tamaulipas is now.

There are certainly challenges. Security is chief concern for the people of Tamaulipas, and all sectors of our economy benefit from a secure operational environment. We’re working alongside federal authorities to strengthen the rule of law and to build a more secure Tamaulipas.

While we know that oil prices are cyclical, we also know that building a strong partnership between Tamaulipas and Texas will provide long-term opportunities for businesses in both states. Together we can strengthen our economies, create a more competitive region and generate more and better jobs for our citizens.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M International University are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Egidio Torre Cantú

Governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico