US Government Acts as “Mediator” in Mexico’s Lucrative Oil and Gas Privatization

New records obtained by DeSmog shed further light on the role the U.S.government has played to help implement the privatization of Mexico’s oil and gas industry, opening it up to international firms beyond state-owned company PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos).

Obtained from both the City of San Antonio, Texas and University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA), the records center around the U.S.–Mexico Oil and Gas Business Export Conference, held in May in San Antonio and hosted by both the U.S.Department of Trade and Department of Commerce, as well as UTSA.

They reveal the U.S. government acting as a mediator between Mexico’s government and U.S. oil and gas companies seeking to cash in on a policy made possible by the behind-the-scenes efforts of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s U.S. State Department. State Department involvement was first revealed here on DeSmog, pointing to emails obtained via Freedom of Information Act and cables made available via Wikileaks.

The records also call into question the claim made by Mexico’s Energy Secretary, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, that the privatization policy was “100 percent made in Mexico.” Coldwell said this in reaction to DeSmog’s investigation showing heavy State Department involvement in ushering in the policy.

“It is absolutely false that Hillary Clinton or any other United States government entity had anything to do with the Mexican energy reform,” Coldwell stated.

If the U.S. government had nothing to with creating the policy architecture to begin with, and its own records tell the opposite story, then it sure is shocking how involved it is now in the attempt to help U.S. companies build their profits from the new policy regime.

“Want to Grow Your Business?”

Indeed, event organizers boasted of the convening as a business opportunity for U.S. companies.

“The conference is a one-day seminar for U.S. exporters who want to take advantage of the energy reform in Mexico’s oil and gas industry,” explained a press release ahead of the event. “The conference will bring together experts from government, business, and academic sectors to discuss the opening markets in Mexico. Experts will show companies in Texas what they can do to position themselves to get in on the ground level of new market opportunities.”

Thomas Tunstall, researcher at UTSA and author of a recent report on the economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the Eagle Ford Shale funded by lobbying powerhouse America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), echoed these comments in a quote he provided ahead of the event.

“Not only is this an opportunity for companies in Mexico,” said Tunstall, “but this prospect for shale oil and gas exploration and production represents an export opportunity for U.S. companies that have pioneered the unconventional techniques in use now.”

An email blasted out to conference invitees by the U.S. Commercial Service, a wing of the U.S. Department of Commerce, shows how the event was pitched to those invited and what business opportunities it could present.

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Articles by: Steve Horn

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