MEI 794: Lawyers Ponder Mexican Energy

Lawyers Ponder Mexican Energy: Annual Meeting of the US-Mexico Bar Association

USMBA logoThis report provides a partial record of the panel discussions and offline conversations about energy questions that concerned speakers at the annual meeting of the US-Mexico Bar Association (USMBA), which was held in Houston, November 4-6, 2015.

The keynote speaker was Carlos Morales Gil, the CEO of PetroBal, the Mexican start-up that just won a block in the most recent CNH bid round. His remarks were limited to general remarks about the laws of the energy reform and there was no Q&A. The topic that most concerned some of the speakers was Article 20 of the Hydrocarbon Law that exempts the administrative rescission of a CNH contract from arbitration.

Speakers made two key observations:

1)    CNH is wearing two hats: a) counter-party to the contract and b) the regulator, creating confusion as to where the line is to be drawn between a commercial decision (therefore arbitrable) and an act of government.

2)    Excluding from arbitration actions that affect the commercial interests of a US or Canadian party may violate rules of NAFTA.

Discussions touched on controversial topics such as administrative rescission, arbitration and contract stabilization. Some topics were missing from the program, such as national content and the legal significance of the neologisms of the 2014 energy reform, as in “productive state enterprise” and “Coordinated Regulator in Energy.”

To download sample pages of this report, click here.

To download our 2015 report title list, click here.

NOTE: USMBA members and conference delegates may download a password-protected copy of this report (password provided by the USMBA office). Please provide your name and work email.

Written by

Mexico Energy Intelligence

Baker & Associates offers niche-market business and policy intelligence related to Mexico's oil and gas, power and chemical industries. Over 1,000 reports have been issued in the last 20 years. Subject matter expert and publisher George Baker, who directs the firm, has carried out consulting assignments starting in the late 1970s at the height of the Oil Boom in Mexico. He brings bilingual and bicultural skill-sets to understanding and responding to challenges of business and public policy, coupled with a deep familiarity with the history and idiosyncrasies of the Mexican operating environment.