IEA, DOE leaders see Mexico’s global energy role growing quickly

Mexico is poised to become an increasingly important global oil and gas supplier as reforms take hold and foreign participation grows, International Energy Agency and US Department of Energy leaders agreed during a joint press conference on July 18.

Mexico is poised to become an increasingly important global oil and gas supplier as reforms take hold and foreign participation grows, International Energy Agency and US Department of Energy leaders agreed during a joint press conference on July 18.

“Mexico’s change in its constitution helped its oil investments double in 2016 when an expected rebound did not occur and global oil investment declined for the first time in years,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said, citing a recent IEA report (OGJ Online, July 11, 2017). “That’s good news for North America’s energy future.”

US Energy Sec. Rick Perry observed, “History teaches us that the world is not stagnant. Mexico had one of its biggest natural gas discoveries in history last week. I’ve just returned from talks with government leaders there, and I believe Mexico will become an even bigger oil and gas supplier as we go about building this new North American energy partnership.”

Birol said IEA expects the US shale revolution to get a second wind and increase its gas production to 40% of the world’s total by 2022 (OGJ Online, July 14, 2017). IEA also projects that the US will become one of the world’s three largest LNG exporters—alongside Australia and Qatar—and give LNG a majority share of the global gas market for the first time by 2040, he said.

“North America is entering a golden age of energy prosperity,” said Birol, adding that Mexico looks as if could be more than a junior partner. The country is on track to become a full IEA member by yearend, he said.

Perry said one of DOE’s priorities will be to streamline its gas export approval process. Sales to customers in countries having a free-trade agreement with the US are presumed to be in the US national interest. DOE determines whether that is the case in proposed sales to customers in non-FTA countries.

“We’re trying to send a message out that if an applicant follows the rules, a permit will be issued,” Perry said. “We philosophically recognize that LNG exports are a good energy component. We expect it to continue being a major driver in US job growth and global emissions reductions.”

As the US increases its shale gas production in the next 5 years, there should be enough to supply US manufacturers and to export the rest to foreign customers, Birol said. “Manufacturing is taking over from power generation as the main gas demand driver,” he said.

Perry noted, “We think it’s important for our allies in Europe in particular to have more than one source of gas. I hope the US will send a message around the world that we’re ready to become a major LNG supplier.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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