Energy and Natural Resources

The latest Mexico Institute publications on Mexico’s energy reform debate, as well as opportunities for U.S.-Mexico cooperation on solar, wind and bioenergy projects.

Issues in this Series

Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico

Keith Schneider, Circle of Blue
Proposed oil and gas development zones in Coahuila are among the driest in the Americas. In collaboration with Circle of Blue, the Mexico Institute is working to address the future of energy and water scarcity along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Economic Impact and Legal Analysis of the Shale Oil and Gas Activities in Mexico

Duncan Wood, Thomas Tunstall, Javier Oyakawa, Alejandra Bueno, Pilar Rodríguez Ibáñez, Joana Chapa Cantú, Manuel Acuña Zepeda, and Oscar Lugo Serrato
Opportunities for unconventional or shale oil and gas production in Mexico are in the earliest stages of development. Due to its close proximity to major shale field development in South and West Texas, Mexico is particularly well positioned to take advantage of unconventional extraction techniques. However significant challenges will have to be addressed.

Renewable Energy in Mexico's Northern Border Region

Jonathan Pinzón, Lilia de Diego, Rafael Carmona, and Luis Aguirre-Torres
Heavy reliance on fossil fuels is a common theme across the Mexican Northern Border States with the notable exception of Baja California. Mexico’s recent Energy Reform marked a big change in terms of investment and opportunities in oil and gas. However, the comprehensive package of legislation was also aimed to incentivize and accelerate the change towards the production of goods and services based on renewable energies. Mexico has great potential to develop a wide range of renewable energies including solar energy, hydroelectric, geothermal, bioenergy, and wind energy.

Addressing the Concerns of the Oil Industry: Security Challenges in Northeastern Mexico and Government Responses

Kathryn Haahr
The December 2013 Constitutional Reform and August 2014 secondary legislation to permit private investment in Mexico’s oil and gas sector represents significant opportunities for private oil and gas companies. While overall geopolitical risk landscape in Mexico is low, cartel-related violence and other criminal activities continue to draw concern from international oil companies and other foreign investors. This paper analyzes the Mexican Government’s response to recent threats to and attacks against energy infrastructure and personnel in Tamaulipas and Veracruz.

Integrating North America's Energy Markets: A Call for Action

Duncan Wood
The outlook for North American energy is bright, and the transformation in the regional energy paradigm has been dramatic. However, to achieve the full potential of this newly discovered regional energy wealth, it will be necessary to more fully integrate the three countries' energy markets. This paper argues that, in order to make North American energy independence a reality, there are several main areas that require attention from the three governments, working together, to make the transition to an integrated North American energy system.

Renewable Energy in Mexico: Policy and Technologies for a Sustainable Future

Sergio Romero-Hernandez, Omar Romero-Hernandez, and Duncan Wood
Mexico’s renewable energy sector is prosperous and with great potential; however, it is necessary that Mexico sees itself as a country that as an energy future beyond Cantarell, beyond PEMEX, beyond oil. The future of renewable energy in Mexico offers great hope for the country and the region and the time is right for a concerted government, industry and social surge to push forward the development of this sector.

A New Regulator in the Hydrocarbons Sector?

Josefina Cortes Campo
In December of 2013, the Mexican Congress approved a major reform of the energy sector, with the hydrocarbons industry of as one of its focus points. We now await the secondary legislation and implementation that will make or break the reform. As in the case of other major reforms last year in the areas of telecommunications and competition (as well as in the case of the 2008 energy reform) one of the fundamental points of discussion in Congress will undoubtedly relate to the institutional framework and autonomy of regulatory agencies, specifically the National Commission of Hydrocarbons (CNH) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE).

Mexico’s Energy Reform: A Game Changer in the Nation’s History (An Upstream Perspective)

David Enriquez
The Mexican energy reform bill adopted by a narrow margin on December 12, 2013 and which took effect on January 1, 2014 formalizes the most liberal energy regime in the country’s history.

Conference Report: Energy Reform in Mexico: Implications for the United States

Rashide Assad Atala
On June 21st, 2013, three experts on Mexican energy issues discussed the energy reform proposal, commenting on the urgency for change and highlighting the potential political, legal, and technical obstacles that it faces. This report summarizes the discussion and includes commentary on foreign policy implications and important international lessons to be learned.

A New Beginning for Mexican Oil

Duncan Wood
Based on the collaborative work of a high‐level group of Mexican energy experts during the first half of 2012, this report focuses on the issues facing Mexico’s hydrocarbon sector and the most important principles that must underlie the forthcoming reform of the country’s oil and gas industry. Although multiple diagnoses of the sector exist, in recent years there has been no fundamental examination of the principles that should underlie the nation’s energy policy.
Courtesy of Abengoa

Solar Energy Potential in Mexico's Northern Border States

Sergio Romero-Hernandez
Mexico’s geographic location and its world-class solar resources make it a prime candidate for solar energy development. To date, however, investment in the sector and government support for the industry has been quite limited, and solar energy has lagged far behind wind and geothermal generation. This paper argues that the northern border states of Mexico provide an extraordinary opportunity for investment in solar energy for local consumption by businesses and residential customers.

Re-Energizing the Border: Renewable Energy, Green Jobs and Border Infrastructure

Duncan Wood
The U.S.-Mexico border region is one of enormous energy resources, both traditional and renewable. This report provides an overview of the prospects for renewable energy projects in Mexico’s border states, examining the development of wind, solar and municipal solid waste projects. This research evaluates the potential impact of investment in these projects on border communities in terms of employment, infrastructure, human capital and social participation.

Wind Energy Potential in Mexico’s Northern Border States

Duncan Wood, Samantha Lozano Medecigo, Omar Romero-Hernandez, and Sergio Romero-Hernandez
With over 1,000 MW of wind energy capacity now installed and another 2,000 MW under construction, Mexico’s wind energy sector has grown dramatically since the early 1990s. This report examines the potential for creating economic benefits in border states from wind energy development, with particular attention paid to employment and infrastructure.

Bioenergy Potential in Northern Mexico

Duncan Wood, Jason Koman, David Richey, Omar Romero-Hernandez, and Sergio Romero-Hernandez
This report recognizes the growing potential for bioenergy, which has attracted public and private sector interest in recent years. It has become clear that Mexico’s land and labor costs make the cross-border trade in renewable energy an exciting and potentially highly profitable sector. Of bioenergy feedstocks, municipal solid waste may represent the greatest potential for growth in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico transborder region.

An Analysis of Trends: Latin America and the Caribbean Economic Growth and the Environment, 2010–2020

Christine Pendzich and Eric L. Olson
USAID partnered with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to identify and analyze key challenges and opportunities for development assistance in the LAC region through 2020. This paper summarizes the key trends identified and proposes some general lines of action for USAID's Missions in the region.

U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade and Rural Poverty in Mexico

En español: Comercio Agrícola México-Estados Unidos y La Pobreza Rural en México

Trends in Agricultural Production and the Future of the Trans-boundary Río Grande/Río Bravo Basin

The report is based on the results of a May 2004 conference involving agricultural experts from both the U.S. and Mexico.

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