PARIS, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Mexico's secretary of energy said from Paris his country submitted a formal request to join the Western-backed International Energy Agency.
Founded in the wake of an Arab oil embargo in the 1970s, Mexican Energy Secretary Joaquin Coldwell said joining the Paris-based IEA would advance regional interests.
"The IEA offers a forum to develop joint answers and global co-operation schemes to guarantee energy security, promote economic development and foster environmental sustainability worldwide," the secretary said in a statement.
Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America and the fourth-largest producer in the region, after the United States, Canada and Brazil, respectively.
The government recently auctioned off rights to 14 tracts covering an estimated 2,600 square miles with reserve estimates of around 686 million barrels of oil equivalent, with most of that existing as light crude oil. Last year, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto set a goal of producing 3.5 million barrels of oil per day by 2025, which would be a 40 percent increase from 2013 levels. With reforms in place, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Mexican production holds steady at around 2.9 million bpd through 2020.
Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said reforms were putting the Mexican energy sector on a level playing field with member states.
"Mexico has made remarkable progress in transforming its energy sector into a market-oriented one that is based on the principles reflected in the IEA shared goals," he said in a statement. "There is every reason to expect that this successful process will continue and be reinforced and accelerated by closer ties with the IEA."
Among other requirements, Mexico will need to hold 90 days of oil supplies if it becomes an IEA member.