House panel asks Obama to take energy steps with Mexico, Canada

Mar 15, 2013

Oil & Gas Journal

GOP members of the subcommittee said they came away from Obama’s meeting with the House Republican Conference a day earlier somewhat encouraged about finally receiving TBHA. “The president was very kind to come meet with us yesterday,” said Rep. Trey Radel (Fla.). “If he’s listening now, please send us this agreement soon.”

Salmon said Obama told House GOP members at the meeting that while he thinks Keystone XL job creation estimates are overblown, the same seems true of predictions that the project would have dire environmental consequences, and promised there would be a decision in the near future.

The subcommittee also met with other administration officials on Mar. 13 who signaled that the White House supports moving forward on TBHA and discussed language that would be needed to implement it, according to Salmon. He said he talked with Sires about drafting that language, and has spoken with Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who chairs the Natural Resources Committee, which would have jurisdiction, about starting the process.

Approving and implementing TBHA soon is very important, hearing witnesses told the subcommittee. “Approving the treaty will create new levels of legal certainty for US and Mexican firms operating in Gulf of Mexico border regions, encouraging them to engage in the risk-taking required to produce oil from deep water,” said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

TBHA also has far-reaching implications in terms of regulatory cooperation between the two countries that is fundamentally necessary in the aftermath of the 2010 Macondo deepwater oil well accident and spill, and is crucial for boosting Mexican standards, he continued. US ratification before Mexico begins its energy reform debate in earnest will encourage that process, while waiting until it is actually under way may complicate the debate, Wood said.

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