On a cross-border trip to expand Texas’ energy business and attend the 5th Texas Energy Trade Mission, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday told the American Chamber of Commerce and the Mexican Foreign Trade Council that the state’s businesses stand ready to help meet its southern neighbor’s rising energy needs.

Perry focused on bringing Texas expertise to Mexico’s prolific Burgos Basin, which is considered by many to be a cornerstone of Mexico’s future energy needs. Located along Mexico’s northern border with Texas and first drilled in 1945, the basin emerged from a secondary asset to one of critical importance to the country. Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the state-run oil and gas monopoly, is working to double gas production there by 2006 to reach a goal of 6.7 Bcf/d of raw gas.

“Texas companies want to partner with the Mexican people to meet their vast future energy needs, and create thousands of jobs in the process,” Perry said. “The Texas Energy Trade Mission is vital to this effort and presents a tremendous opportunity to meet the energy needs that are obvious to people on both sides of our border.”

Mexico officials have warned for the past several years that the country has a growing natural gas deficit, dwindling oil reserves and a growing need for power. Pemex estimates that it will need to spend more than $45 billion on exploration and production over the next five years, plus another $16 billion on refinery improvements over the next 10 years to meet international demand as well as domestic growth needs. Pemex’s Strategic Gas Plan includes a greater partnership with the private sector through Multiple Service Contracts, which will allow for private sector investment in Mexico’s natural gas production.

“Stronger energy ties, greater privatization of the Mexican energy sector, and an increase in the number of cross-border energy projects will benefit consumers and employers in both countries,” said Perry. “The Trans Texas Corridor we are building will be a 4,000 mile network of roads and rail lines, oil and gas pipelines, and electric transmission lines that will better connect Texas and Mexico to the opportunities of the new economy.”

Mexico is Texas’ number one trading partner, and Perry estimated that 12 state industries export more than $1 billion in goods and products to Mexico each year.

“Since the implementation of NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], cross-border trade between Mexico and the United States has flourished, growing from a $100 billion industry to a $248 billion industry,” Perry said. “The success of NAFTA reminds us that the best government jobs program is one where private sector does the work. By reducing trade barriers, we have expanded opportunities.”

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