BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Governor Greg Abbott met with Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto in Houston on Monday to discuss continued collaboration and progress on a joint energy task force.

The task force came about following Abbott’s visit to Mexico last year. Abbott hopes the group will aid Texas in leveraging vast investment and business opportunities that could accrue as a result of the energy reforms Peña Nieto championed.

Peña Nieto was in Houston for a speech at IHS CERAWeek2016, a week-long international energy conference that drew 2,800 delegates from more than 50 countries and more than 300 speakers. Peña Nieto’s speech kicked off the conference. Executives from ConocoPhillips and General Electric are attending the conference.

“Today’s meeting affirmed Texas and Mexico’s continued commitment to addressing shared challenges on both sides of the border,” Governor Abbott said. “I would like to thank President Peña Nieto for his dedication to working with Texas on cross-border energy infrastructure. Working together, I am confident we will continue to strengthen our economic and cultural bonds.”

Abbott pointed out that Mexico is the Lone Star State’s biggest trading partner and Texas exports more goods to Mexico than any other state. In 2014, Texas exported more than $100 billion in machinery, technology and other commodities to Mexico, about 35 percent of the state’s total exports. Abbott said these exports sustain tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses in Texas and more than 1.1 million jobs, the most in the nation. Texas also imported more than $90 billion of goods from Mexico last year.

Abbott visited Mexico City last September, accompanied by Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos and business leaders from the Lone Star State. Abbott and Peña Nieto said at the time that the energy task force is designed “to foster economic growth on both sides of the border by finding new and innovative energy solutions.”

Regarding the Texas-Mexico energy initiative, Abbott said the energy task force would:

•Continue to strengthen and modernize our interconnected electric and natural gas infrastructure.
•Develop resources to find additional energy solutions.
•Promote investments in the energy value productive chain.

“I am pleased to announce Texas and Mexico’s intent to establish an energy task force, which will foster discussions on energy reform as developments in the energy industry proliferate at home and across the border,” Abbott said, whilst in Mexico City. “Texas and Mexico meet at the center of North America’s vast energy resources, and this task force will provide a unique opportunity to enrich economic growth and development for both sides.”

In his speech at IHS CERAWeek2016, Peña Nieto gave an overview of his efforts to privatize the Mexican oil industry. He said that despite the worldwide downturn in energy prices the privatization drive would continue.

“Despite the low international oil prices, the world is trusting and investing in Mexico. All the bids of planned contracts for 2015 were made with increased success,” Peña Nieto said. “This is not the time to stop, this is the time to move forward.”

Peña Nieto said that from April 1, 2016, any company will be able to import gasoline and diesel. He said this should lead to lower prices for consumers.

IHS CERAWeek is said to be the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. This year marks the 35th anniversary of this influential event, ranked among the top five “corporate leader” conferences in the world.

Editor’s Note: Click here to read a Dallas Morning News story about President Peña Nieto’s attendance at IHS CERAWeek 2016.