Hurd, Cuellar announce approval of U.S.-Mexico Oil Swaps

Congressmen Will Hurd (R-TX) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX)  claimed success in their efforts to encourage Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to accept a proposal from Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, PEMEX, to swap light U.S. oil for imports of heavy Mexican oil. 

Earlier this year, Hurd and Cuellar co-authored a letter to Secretary Pritzker and spearheaded an effort urging the Commerce Department to strongly weigh the benefits of such a deal  for our National Energy Security and the Texas economy.  The Commerce Department announced that it has approved PEMEX’s application.

“An agreement like this is a strong step towards North American Energy Security, which is an integral part of our National Security. I believe it will open the door for more reforms that move North America toward energy independence,” said U.S. Representative Hurd (R-TX23), who spent more than nine years serving as an undercover CIA officer and sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“Energy trade is a key component of our economic relationship with Mexico and recent changes in their energy policies have given us an opportunity to strengthen that exchange. The American Energy Renaissance that has flourished in Texas due to Eagle Ford, Permian Basin and Barnett shale exploration will continue to strengthen because of this decision.”

“Texas will gain tremendously from this oil swap agreement. The petroleum industry in Texas, in large part due to shale production, has revitalized our nation’s economy,” said Congressman Cuellar (D-TX28). “These swaps will further positively impact energy exploration in Texas and the United States. The U.S. and Mexico have a great relationship when it comes to trade and commerce, and today’s announcement is a clear sign that both countries are eager to further develop their energy sectors. I thank Secretary Penny Pritzker and Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Eric Hirschhorn for their important role in securing this agreement.”

“The U.S.-Mexico Oil Swap approval is good news for energy producers in South and West Texas, particularly in view of the recent drop in West Texas Intermediate benchmark prices,” said Dr. Thomas Tunstall, research director for the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development. “The swap will enhance North American energy security, and will also better optimize refining facilities in both the U.S. and Mexico. Mexico is a key trading partner with the U.S. and the recently announced swap will further strengthen that relationship.”

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act delegates authority to the Commerce Department to exempt the prohibition of crude oil and natural gas exports which is determined to be in the best interest of the nation and has been used on many occasion to authorize swaps under existing regulations.