In March, the Mexican Senate ratified an agreement with the U.S. governing the exploration and development of transboundary oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico. In an email interview, Duncan Wood, director of the international relations program at Mexico’s Autonomous Institute of Technology and a senior associate in the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed the U.S.-Mexico transboundary energy agreement.
WPR: What is the history of energy cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico?
Duncan Wood: Since the nationalization of Mexican oil in 1938, the relationship between the two countries in energy matters has been sensitive, to put it mildly. Whereas Mexico has been one of the United States’ largest crude oil suppliers, and the U.S. in turn is far and away Mexico's largest market for oil, open collaboration between the NAFTA partners beyond exports has been restricted. This is largely due to Mexican sensitivities over sovereignty, the contentious history of U.S. oil firms' involvement in Mexico prior to nationalization and the constitutionally mandated monopoly in oil production in Mexico granted to the state-owned energy company Pemex. Any public statement by a United States government official or oil executive has traditionally been greeted with charges of foreign interference by Mexican leftists and nationalists.