Department Of Commerce Hosts Fourth US-Mexico Energy Council Meeting
At the fourth meeting of the US-Mexico Energy Business Council, government officials from the United States and Mexico discussed ways to enhance bilateral trade within the energy sector between the two markets. Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Sarah Kemp co-chaired the meeting alongside Assistant Secretary Ted Garrish of the US Department of Energy, Director General Salvador Behar of the Mexican Ministry of Economy, and Director General Nicole David of the Mexican Ministry of Energy.
The two governments convened the 20 private-sector members of the council to provide an update on the businesses’ recommendations aimed at increasing trade in energy-related products and services. The council’s recommendations were generated during the past two years by working groups focused on oil and gas; power generation and electrification; and workforce and human capital issues.
“With a rapidly changing North American energy landscape, dialogues such as this are key to helping our governments better understand the needs of the private sector as we work together to build a more robust energy partnership,” said Kemp. “Increased energy trade and crossborder development will improve North America’s self-sufficiency, reduce reliance on energy imports from outside the continent, create jobs, and bring down energy costs for consumers.”
Throughout the day, government representatives from the US Departments of Energy (DOE), Interior, State, and Treasury, as well as the North American Electricity Reliability Corporation (NERC), shared the following examples of binational cooperation related to the council’s key interests.
In the offshore oil and gas sector, the US Department of the Interior and the Mexican Agency for Safety, Energy, and Environment are collaborating on common approaches to safety and environmental oversight in the offshore oil and gas sector.
DOE, State, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), are looking at certain process improvements in the review of Presidential permit applications, pursuant to President Donald Trump’s policy goals articulated in Executive Orders 13766 and 13807 concerning the prompt review of infrastructure projects. Commerce, DOE, and FERC have also signed the One Federal Memorandum of Understanding to streamline agencies’ environmental review processes in support of further developing cross-border energy infrastructure.
NERC, Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission, and its National Center for Energy Control, have forged an agreement to enhance the reliability and security of interconnected power systems between the US and Mexico. On the cybersecurity front, parties are discussing NERC’s Critical Infrastructure Protection standards, a set of requirements designed to secure the assets required for operating the bulk electric system.
The US members of the North American Development Bank Board continue working with our Mexican partners to explore how they can best support economically impactful projects that aid communities along both sides of the border.
Finally, on workforce and human capital, Mexico’s Ministry of Energy and the National Chamber of Science and Technology are developing programs to train welders and operators in petrochemical and gas processes. Thus far, 450 welders have been certified under the American Welding Society standards, and 40 operators in petrochemical and gas processes have been awarded vocational certificates.
Mexico is the second-largest energy trading partner of the US, remaining an important destination for US exporters of energy-related equipment, technologies, and services. The next meeting of the council is expected to occur in Mexico City in late 2018.
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