Industry Groups, Senator Applaud Approval of US-Mexico Oil Exchanges

Two oil and gas industry trade groups and U.S. Senator welcomed the U.S. Commerce Department’s plans to approve limited exchanges of crude oil between the United States and Mexico.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Commerce Department has quietly informed members of U.S. Congress that it would approve an application by Mexican state energy firm Petroleos Mexicanos to enter into oil trade agreements with U.S. companies.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) said that trade with Mexico is a “long overdue step that will benefit our economy and North America energy security,” said API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel in an Aug. 14 press release. The group doesn’t think the Commerce Department should stop there, noting that study after study shows that the free trade of crude would create more U.S. jobs, lower fuel cost and reduce the power that foreign suppliers have over U.S. allies.

The United States already has a mutually-beneficial oil trading relationship Canada, Finkel noted.

“At a time when the United States is working on a deal to allow Iranian crude onto the global market, policymakers should focus on preserving America’s competitive position as the world’s top oil and gas producer.”

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) said in an Aug. 14 press release that lifting export restrictions on America’s energy surpluses not only is consistent with President Obama’s own broad free trade policies, but also would spur additional investment and economic growth. IPAA and its member companies have made lifting the ban on exporting U.S. surplus crude a top priority for 2015. IPAA President Barry Russell has sent letters to President Obama, urging the president to lift the ban, and to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), supporting Upton’s recent comments on U.S. crude oil exports.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said the decision is a positive step toward the liberalization of U.S. energy trade policies, and comes at the urging of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Murkowski said she still remains committed to the full appeal of the ban on selling oil to America’s friends and allies overseas, and believes this change should be made “as quickly as possible.”

Murkowski, who serves as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been advocating since January 2014 for an end to the United States’ 4-decades-old plan of exporting most U.S. crude. Earlier this year, Murkowski, Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and 19 other Senate colleagues sent Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker a letter encouraging the approval of exchanges and authorizing oil exports to Mexico under the same conditions established for exports to Canada.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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