They're all smiles today as the 20th annual Border Energy Summit is underway in San Antonio. 1200 WOAI news reports many of the challenges involve too much growth, too much opportunity, and too much positive change in Mexico's oil industry.
The Summit has been held every year for the last two decades, and brings together experts on finance, production and distribution of oil and natural gas, and other renewables. Officials from both sides of the Rio Grande take part in the summit.
This year, Gilbert Vasquez, who is a lawyer with the San Antonio law firm of Strasburger Price, specializing in energy issues, says the major problems being faced by the Texas energy companies he represents are problems relating to the growth of firms involved in the oil play.
"I have a client in particular that went from about ten employees to 30 employees in the span of a year," Vasquez said. "That is tremendous growth."
But he says the real opportunities are in northern Mexico, where the southern portion of the Eagle Ford shows potential for explosive growth. The Pena Nieto Administration in Mexico City is trying to speed that growth by, for the first time, allowing private oil companies to compete with the Mexican state oil firm Pemex in drilling and moving of oil and natural gas.
"These sorts of issues are historic and in a lot of ways political," he said. "They now are obstacles that are in the way of energy reform. But I think these obstacles can be overcome."
Vasquez says Mexico remains a long way from 'the point where the doors would be opened' but he praised President Enrique Pena Nieto for floating this politically sensitive issue in Mexico.
"I was involved in the Bolivian privatization in the mid nineties," he said. "Politically, to have U.S. oil companies come into the country are problematic, but it can have a major economic impact."
He says ever since the revolution of the 1920s, the oil industry in Mexico has been considered to be part of the 'national patrimony.'
"These sorts of issues are historic and in a lot of ways political," he said. "It is very unique in this effort that the energy behind this comes straight from Mexico's White House."
Vasquez says if Mexico moves forward with privatization, the result could be an enormous boost in jobs in the region which, among other impacts, could also lead to a reduction in illegal immigration into the U.S.
As far as legal issues in the Eagle Ford are concerned, Vasquez says areas of environmental, water, and property law come into play.
“Water rights are very emotional, and any land owner who is embarking on this effort has some challenges, but those two can be overcome.”