The Future of the US-Mexico Energy Relationship

March 16, 2017 - 12:30 pm

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW
Washington, DC


The Future of the US-Mexico Energy Relationship

A conversation with:
Lourdes Melgar
Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow
MIT Center for International Studies;
Former Deputy Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons

Moderated by:
David Goldwyn
Chairman, Energy Advisory Group
Atlantic Council

Introduced by:
Peter Schechter
Senior Vice President and Director, Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center
Atlantic Council

One of the United States’ most significant trading partners, Mexico is second only to Canada in energy trade with the United States. In 2016, energy resources accounted for about 9 percent of all US exports to Mexico, amounting to $20.2 billion. Despite this, for decades doing business in Mexico’s energy industry was limited to involvement in providing services to a nationalized energy company, such as Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

In 2014, however, Mexico implemented historic energy reforms of both the oil and electricity markets. These new reforms support changes toward an open market with the objective of reducing prices for final users. This effort has been accompanied by rising natural gas exports from the United States to Mexico, and the adoption of a five-year plan by Mexico’s Energy Ministry to significantly expand the country’s natural gas pipeline network to accommodate higher levels of natural gas imports from the United States.


Though energy trade has been growing rapidly, developments under the Trump administration have made the future of the US-Mexico relationship uncertain. Please join us as we discuss how a potential renegotiation of NAFTA, a shifting attitude toward Mexico in the United States, and a growth in natural gas trade may positively or negatively impact hemispheric energy security with Lourdes Melgar, Mexico’s former deputy secretary of energy for hydrocarbons.

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Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator)
Washington, DC

This event is open to press and on the record.


Lourdes Melgar is currently a Robert E. Wilhelm fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies. She is Mexico’s former deputy secretary of energy for hydrocarbons. From December 2012 until February 2014, she served as under-secretary for electricity. In those positions, she played a key role in the design and implementation of Mexico’s historic energy reform, participating in and then heading the technical group that defined the new model from a comprehensive perspective, including the creation of a liberalized wholesale power market and the establishment of Clean Energy Certificates. She was a Member of PEMEX Board of Directors and has been a member of the board of CFE, Mexico’s public utility company. As a member of the Mexican Foreign Service (1997-2005), Dr. Melgar held various diplomatic positions both in Mexico and abroad, and served in Mexico’s Ministry of Energy between 1998 and 2002, where she served as assistant secretary for international affairs. During her tenure, she participated in the efforts to stabilize the international oil market, negotiated the first trans-boundary treaty with the United States, and fostered North American energy relations. Dr. Melgar was founding director of the Center for Sustainability and Business at EGADE Business School of the Monterrey Institute of Technology. She has authored articles on energy security, transboundary reservoirs, sustainable development, and the transition to a low-carbon economy. She is a national researcher for the Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT). Dr. Melgar received her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College. She holds a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


David Goldwyn is president of Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC, an international energy advisory consultancy. He is chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Board, and

the co-editor of Energy & Security: Strategies for a World in Transition. Mr. Goldwyn served as the US State Department’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs from 2009 to 2011, where he conceived and developed the Global Shale Gas Initiative as well as the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative, and led ministerial-level energy dialogues with the developing world. Mr. Goldwyn previously served as assistant secretary of energy for international affairs (1999-2001) and as national security deputy to former US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson (1997-98). He is now a member of the US National Petroleum Council. Mr. Goldwyn has been published extensively on topics related to energy security and transparency. In 2015, Goldwyn was the co-director of an Atlantic Council task force chaired by Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Warner, which culminated in a report, Empowering America: How Energy Abundance Can Strengthen US Global Leadership (Atlantic Council 2015). He is also the author of Drilling Down: The Civil Society Guide to Extractive Industry Revenues and the EITI (Revenue Watch Institute 2008).


Peter Schechter is Atlantic Council senior vice president and the first director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. An international consultant who has advised many heads of state and business leaders around the globe, Schechter's specialty and passion remain anchored in Latin America. He has more than twenty years of communications and political experience and is a sought-out voice on Latin American political issues. Schechter previously served as the lead consultant on a host of high-stakes elections—overseeing polling, campaign management, advertising, and media relations—in nearly every country in Latin America. In 1993, Schechter founded Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter, and Associates (CLS) with two partners. Schechter teaches at two universities about issues at the intersection of international business, communications, and politics; he serves as a visiting professor at Ben Gurion University's (BGU) Faculty of Business and Management and was appointed to BGU's Board of Directors in 2012. Schechter is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University and a published author, having released two novels to date with Harper Collins: Point of Entry (2006) and Pipeline (2009). A graduate of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, he was previously deputy staff director for the House Subcommittee on International Development Institutions and Finance and worked at National Public Radio and the Inter-American Development Bank.