NEW PUBLICATION | Towards a North American Foreign Policy Footprint

By Earl Anthony Wayne and Arturo Sarukhan

north-american-lights-lightenedEvery electoral cycle in the United States or Mexico brings the opportunity to reevaluate the relationship and explore how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. In the coming months, it is quite likely that crucial issues in the relationship may be revisited in profound ways. This presents both real risks and real opportunities. Even as the political climate changes, the on-the-ground benefits of regional collaboration for the security and economic well-being of the United States, Mexico, and all of North America continue to be immense.

Towards a North American Foreign Policy Footprint,” was written by Earl Anthony Wayne, Career Ambassador and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, and Arturo Sarukhan, Career Ambassador and former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. In the policy brief, the authors review existing cooperation and explore the potential for enhanced cooperation on international issues by Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

This policy brief is the first of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.”  The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.

Read the publication here.

In Mexico, Energy Reform Is Local, Too

1/20/2017 Natural Gas Intelligence

Energy -electricity_transmission_linesMexico’s energy reforms are a nationwide affair, but much of the action — and potential conflict — will happen at the state and municipal level, where the drill bits and pipelines meet the ground, speakers said Wednesday at a conference in Monterrey, the capital of northeastern state Nuevo León.

According to presenters at the Mexico Infrastructure Projects Forum, Mexico’s northeast region holds close to 85% of the country’s shale gas reserves and is its third-largest wind energy resource base. The region also has the highest energy demand in Mexico except for the Mexico City metro area, and manufacturers there produce goods for domestic and export markets.

While energy infrastructure in northeastern Mexico is the country’s most developed, it is still lacking — and that is keeping the region from developing its full economic potential, conference speakers said.

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IFR Joint Venture Enters Onshore Bid Round 2.3 of Historic Mexico Energy Reform

1/19/2017 Marketwired

energy - oil pumpsCALGARY, ALBERTA – International Frontier Resources Corporation (“IFR” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE:IFR)(OTCQB:IFRTF) today announced that its jointly owned Mexican company Tonalli Energia has registered and been granted access to the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) data room for the third tender of Round Two of Mexico’s oil and gas energy reform. Tonalli is in the process of analyzing and assessing block data, and completing documentation in anticipation of entering the bidding process this spring. Concessions are to be awarded in July 2017 under a license contract model. The licenses for exploration and production will last 30 years and can be extended for a maximum of two additional terms of five years each.

The Mexican government announced the third tender of Round Two on November 14th which will be the eighth upstream bid round in Mexico since the energy reform began. Fourteen onshore blocks, averaging 185 km2 (72 sections) are available nationwide: six in the Southeastern Basin, four in the Burgos Basin, three in the Veracruz Basin and one block in the Tampico-Misantla Basin which offsets the Tecolutla Block.

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Mexico’s Pemex Says New Procurement Rules Aimed at Combating Graft

1/11/2017 New York Times

pemexMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s state oil company Pemex [PEMX.UL] said on Wednesday that updated procurement policies, such as renegotiating service contracts and fewer no-bid purchases, have led to more than 24 billion pesos ($1.10 billion) in savings for the cash-strapped firm.

Miguel Angel Servin, the company’s top procurement executive, said in a phone interview that beyond the savings, which occurred over the past year, the bigger goal is to minimize acts of corruption in its purchases.

“All of the actions that we’re taking revolve around more transparency, (contractor) certainty and more competition, and this is how we can minimize possible acts of corruption,” he said.

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Mexico’s Pemex says protests cause ‘critical’ border city fuel shortage

1/11/2017 Channel NewsAsia

energy - gas pumpMEXICO CITY: Mexico’s oil company, Pemex, is struggling to supply gas stations around the northern border city of Mexicali because of a blockade at a storage site, part of sometimes violent protests and looting over a gasoline price hike.

In a post on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, Pemex said its ability to supply gas stations in Mexicali, across the border from California, had reached “critical levels” because of the blockade of its local storage plant.

“No gas stations have any inventory,” said Rodrigo Llantada, president of the regional chapter of industry chamber Coparmex. He said the blockade began last Wednesday.

Protests since the Jan. 1 double-digit fuel price spike have exposed anger with President Enrique Pena Nieto over rising living costs fanned by a slump in the peso currency after Republican Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential victory.

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Trump, Tillerson, NAFTA, Mexico And Oil Companies

1/10/2017 Forbes

deepwatersOn December 5, 2016, several U.S. oil companies were among the winners of petroleum contracts awarded by the Mexican Hydrocarbon Commission to develop deep water projects in the Gulf of Mexico. From a legal standpoint, an initial assumption could be that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) became more relevant to these “American” companies entering into the Mexican oil market. Indeed, the legal regime provided by NAFTA Chapter 11, which was designed to protect property rights in long-term investments, could be essential to ventures involving operations that might last for over two decades.

Later, President-elect Donald Trump announced Rex Tillerson as his nominee for Secretary of State. Until 2016, Tillerson was the CEO of Exxon Mobil, one of the U.S. oil companies investing in the new projects in Mexico. During the first year in office, Trump and Tillerson, assuming Tillerson is confirmed by the Senate, will navigate national and international politics to grapple with issues arising from promises made during Trump’s presidential campaign. Among these promises was Trump’s pledge to renegotiate or to terminate NAFTA.

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U.S. Energy Secretary and Mexico Energy Minister Sign Bilateral Principles to Promote Electricity Reliability of Interconnected Power Systems

1/9/2017 Department of Energy

hand shakeMEXICO CITY – On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Mexico’s Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, along with Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC) Chairman Norman Bay, Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) Chairman Guillermo Ignacio Garcia Alcocer and National Center for Energy Control (CENACE) Director Eduardo Meraz Ateca, together signed a non-binding foundational document that will support a continued effort by both countries to assure reliability of the increasingly interconnected American and Mexican electricity grids. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson and President and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Gerry Cauley witnessed the signing.

“The United States and Mexico have a long-standing energy partnership that is being strengthened further as Mexico advances its impressive energy sector reform,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Electricity system integration will help both countries achieve economic, energy and environmental goals, and these agreed upon principles will help assure reliability and resilience.”

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