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For Obama And Pena Nieto, A Delicate ‘First Dance’ Around Vitality

NEW YORK, Might 2 (Reuters) – When the dialog between President Barack Obama and his newly elected Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto turns to the controversial topic of vitality during their meeting this week, each are apt to step carefully.

The two countries have abruptly modified positions over the previous decade: Mexico, as soon as the rising vitality energy, is struggling to take care of production; the United States, as soon as a guaranteed importer, is enjoying a lucrative vitality boom.

However, the thorny issues of foreign investment in Mexico’s oil manufacturing sector or swapping different types of crude oil between the 2 nations will seemingly solely be brought up in personal, if in any respect.

Though Mexico’s aging refineries might operate extra effectively using some of the light crude rising from U.S. oilfields, state oil and gas monopoly Pemex has long averted incremental imports in order to take care of its reliance on the heavier crude produced domestically.

Meanwhile, U.S. Petroleum Machinery pipeline exports of natural gas to Mexico have surged, and could double inside a number of years as new projects link Latin America’s second-largest economy with major U.S. producing regions, regardless of issues in the United States that exports might push prices larger at house.

Less divisive topics, corresponding to local weather change and the way to improve cross-border power effectivity, are anticipated to be discussed, Sergio Alcocer, Mexico’s deputy international minister accountable for the United States, advised Reuters.

“That is extra like the primary dance of the season,” mentioned Bill O’Grady, chief markets strategist at Confluence Funding Management. “You get to see each other, get to know each other. However Mexico remains to be making an attempt to figure out learn how to reform its own state oil firm.”

Mexican oil and gas output remains flat while nationwide demand increases, making a dilemma for Pena Nieto, whose opponents vigorously oppose overseas funding within the nation’s energy sector.

Though Mexican crude is a staple for Gulf Coast refineries, crude oil imports from Mexico coal gasification kazakhstan have dropped a 3rd over the previous decade, sinking beneath 1 million barrels per day final year for the first time since 1994, in response to government information.

Mexico has duly shifted its focus. A month in the past Pemex touted a brand new two-yr deal to spice up crude exports to China by 30,000 bpd.

Discuss of some kind of oil “swap” has also circulated, based mostly on the idea that U.S. producers may get a greater value for their gentle-candy crude in Mexico while Texas and Louisiana refineries built to run on heavy-sour grades may get more of that kind of oil from Mexico, albeit at lesser charges than up to now.

There’s little indication yet that Pemex is angling for U.S. shale oil, or that U.S. firms are urgent to sell it.

Gasoline BONANZA
As lawmakers interact in an increasingly fierce debate in Washington over whether pure gasoline exports would drive up gasoline costs at dwelling, foreign companies are racing to export extra to Mexico, the place demand is growing quick.

U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico rose by 24 % in 2012 to all-time highs, based on U.S. government knowledge.

The capacity to export will double by the top of 2014 as Mexican power plants hook as much as pipelines working from the large Eagle Ford play in Texas and further afield.

Corporations like Sempra Power, Japan’s Mitsui and Kinder Morgan are all planning to build new pipelines in Mexico, probably reducing its dependence on imported LNG from overseas.

Alejandro Martinez, the top natural gasoline government at Pemex, said exports of U.S. fuel to Mexico and Mexican oil to the United States present “a natural trade” for the 2 countries.

“I believe we have to have a a lot better integration,” he said in an interview with Reuters this week.

Investment Important
Whether Obama and Nieto will discuss the more delicate matter of Mexico’s permitting international funding in its struggling oil sector is unclear. Development of the country’s massive shale formations continues to be coal gasification kazakhstan on hold because it considers its options.

Mexico has the fourth-largest shale gasoline assets in the world after the United States, China and Argentina, according to a U.S. authorities report on international shale deposits in 2011, although it remains to be seen how they are going to be developed.

Pena Nieto has pledged to open up Mexican oil manufacturing and exploration to more outside investment to be able to ramp up growth.

“When push involves shove, it is U.S. companies which have the expertise and expertise to help Mexico develop its deepwater and onshore unconventional sources,” stated Ed Morse, managing director of commodity analysis at Citi Group.

Traditionalists who view Pemex as an emblem of Mexican self-sufficiency strongly oppose the prospect. Jorge Buendia, political analyst and director of polling firm Buendia & Laredo, said Mexico was due to this fact prone to avoid open talk of oil and gasoline with the United States for now, although “again-room” discussions would no doubt happen.