Last Tuesday, Energy Day 2013 took place in the Hotel Camino Real Polanco in Mexico City; industry leaders and prominent public officials listened to and participated in several discussions and debates regarding the most pressing issues that affect Mexico’s energy future. The event, organized by the British Chamber of Commerce, commenced with some amiable opening remarks and acknowledgements by the Chamber’s own Chris Sladen, followed by a speech by Mexico’s Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell.
The first debate of the day featured comparisons of Mexico’s energy reform with other energy reforms in Latin America; Armando Zamora, formerly from Colombia’s National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH), carefully explained how Colombia’s energy reform fostered national economic growth and promoted innovation in Ecopetrol (Colombia’s first oil company). Juan Pardinas from IMCO compared the current state of the oil and gas industry to the state of the Mexican automotive sector in the seventies; he argued that energy reform could cause the same exponential growth in the Mexican oil and gas industry that the automotive sector has gone through in the last decades.
The second debate centered on Mexico’s deepwater development; Bill Townsley from Shell took the opportunity to detail their plan to technologically aid Mexico’s growth in the Perdido region. The third debate focused on power generation and infrastructure. The fourth debate touched upon a controversial industry topic: shale gas production. Participants in this debate exposed the unique challenges and realities of shale gas production (such as the fact that its singular production curves force shale gas developers to drill over a thousand wells a year in order to turn a profit; that’s three wells drilled, completed and completely operational a day). Participants also discussed the great differences between different shale gas developments, and concluded that it was impossible for Mexico to merely reproduce or imitate Eagle Ford’s boom model; it would have to find its own shale gas development model that is tailored to the unique characteristics of its reservoirs.
Afterwards, lunch was served, accompanied by a lecture by Luis Tellez, president of the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores; he exhorted the audience to understand the great economic necessity behind Mexico’s energy reform, and he also talked briefly about the possible sources of financing for oil and gas development. Several presentations followed, including that of the “Amistad” project, the British Chamber of Commerce’s charity to help those affected by the recent flooding in the state of Guerrero.
A copy of Mexico Oil and Gas Review 2013 was given out to all speakers and debate participants; throughout the day, participants and attendees had a chance to tour the ample exhibition floor and network with fellow industry professionals. Energy Day 2013 was an important industry meeting point but also an excellent opportunity to approach the tough questions surrounding Mexico’s energy future without the political cacophony circling the public energy reform debate.