The United States continues to be Mexico’s main trading partner for energy products, accounting for more than $65 billion in energy trade in 2012 and 13 percent of overall trade between the two countries, according to an Energy Information Administration report issued on Monday.
Mexico is the third-largest exporter of crude oil to the U.S., outpaced only by Canada and Saudi Arabia, with crude oil and petroleum products making up most of the energy trade.
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The high percentage of imports from Mexico reflects the large quantities of Mexican heavy crude oil that are shipped to the U.S. for refining and then exported back to Mexico as gasoline and diesel fuel.
Mexico has many legal restrictions against foreign companies participating in its oil sector – a barrier that may be rethought in the months to come, according to Christopher Smith, acting assistant director of fossil energy for the Department of Energy, who spoke at the Offshore Technology conference in Houston last week. Energy Department officials are looking into possible collaborations to further access shale resources in the Eagle Ford, Smith said at the conference.
Carlos Morales-Gil, general director of Mexico’s Pemex Exploration and Production, has said that Mexico needs to foster more foreign investment and leverage the experience of international companies to pursue more deepwater drilling in Mexican waters.
Currently, limitations on cross-border natural gas pipelines, incompatibilities between electricity transmission systems further limit cross-trade between the two countries.