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Mexico’s energy trade with the US

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In a speech delivered on 3rd May 2013, Barack Obama described the US as Mexico’s primary trading partner.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), refineries in the US process significant amounts of imported Mexican heavy crude, some of which is then re-exported to Mexico as lighter grade products such as gasoline.

Meanwhile, an integrated and growing network of cross border natural gas pipelines facilitates rising US natural gas exports to Mexico.

Trade value variation

The trade value of various forms of energy exchanged between the US and the rest of the world and Mexico varies greatly by product.

Crude oil

Mexico was the ninth largest supplier of oil in the world in 2012. The country is the third largest oil supplier in the Western Hemisphere.

During the first sixth months of the year, total crude exports accounted for 13% of the value of Mexico’s overall exports. However, since this time crude oil exports to the US have been declining (falling below 1 million bpd last year for the first time since 1994), largely due to production decreases from the Canterell and other large offshore fields.

Despite this decline, rising crude oil prices have meant that the dollar value of exports has risen from US$ 13.1 billion to US$ 35.7 billion between 2003 and 2012.

Petroleum products

Mexico is a net importer of refined petroleum products. In 2012, Mexico was the largest volumetric importer of US petroleum products, importing approximately one fifth of all US petroleum product exports.

Mexico was also the top importer of finished motor gasoline from the US in 2012, accounting for approximately half of all US exports. The country was also the second highest importer of US distillate fuel oil, behind only the Netherlands.

Between 2003 and 2012, the value of Mexico’s net petroleum product imports from the US rose from US$ 0.6 billion to US$ 18.7 billion.

Natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG)

Natural gas trade between Mexico and the US has been growing. Estimated average daily net exports from the US to Mexico between 1st January 2013 – 6th May 2013 was 1.6 billion ft3/d, an almost 29% increase on the same period in 2012.

Mexico has considerable natural gas resources, but the development of unconventional shale gas is developing only slowly.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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