Thursday, December 19, 2013

U.S. Senate approves pact for transborder oil exploration

PEMEX reforms linked to congressional action north of the border

Guadalajara -
The United States Senate Wednesday evening approved the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement, legislation lauded by the White House as "an environmentally safe and responsible manner of exploring, developing and sharing the income from petroleum resources in the deepest waters beyond the territorial jurisdiction of each country."

The agreement, part of an omnibus budget package which the Senate will send to the president, covers offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and could affect up to 1.5 million acres of oil and natural gas reserves.

A White House official praised bipartisan cooperation in passing the measure, as did a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, who said that oil companies "will now have the certainty they need to invest with confidence along the U.S.-Mexican maritime border."

The Senate version of the agreement differed from one approved by the House of Representatives many months ago, which provided that American companies would not have to report drilling and exploration payments they received from foreign governments. The final version of the approved bill contained no such language, opposed by the White House as an "obstacle to transparency and accountability" in the hydrocarbon production industry.

The U.S. Senate's approval of the agreement occurred the same day that Mexico's congress officially declared adopted major constitutional reforms in this country, which will open former state monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) to private investment capital and foreign technical expertise.

Mexico has an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which are yet to be developed. Earlier this week a Mexican columnist, quoting a U.S. news source, wrote "Energy reforms and the exploitation of new gas and oil fields will make Mexico the fifth largest producer of hydrocarbons over the next 10 years, igniting its growth and making the country the second largest Latin American economy."

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, on his way back at this hour from a state visit to Turkey, will sign the new PEMEX laws during a noon ceremony tomorrow in Mexico City.

PEMEX reforms
Dec. 20 - PEMEX reforms are now officially the law
Dec. 18 - Not much democracy in "Democratic" Revolution Party
Dec. 16 - San Luis Potosí puts PEMEX reforms over the top
Dec. 15 - Jalisco and all of Yucatán peninsula approve PEMEX reforms
Dec. 13 - Mexican states rush to endorse PEMEX reforms
Dec. 11 - Mexico's Chamber of Deputies wastes no time, approves PEMEX reforms
Dec. 11 - Mexico's PEMEX enters the 21st century, as senators open the door to foreign expertise and private capital
Dec. 8 - PEMEX amendments are on the legislative "fast track"

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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