OTTAWA, June 29 (UPI) -- The Canadian government said it was looking to build stronger energy ties with Mexico now that key reforms were in place in the sector.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosted his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto, at the nation's capital to review trade and other relations. In a joint statement, both sides vowed to share best practices and review how best to enhance engagement in the energy sector.
"Mexico's recent energy reforms provide a unique opportunity to enhance collaboration in our bilateral energy relationship, aiming to boost prosperous, inclusive, and low-carbon energy sectors," the joint statement read.
As part of a sweeping overhaul of the nation's energy sector, the Mexican president recently opened the country up to private investors after more than 70 years under a monopoly controlled by Pemex.
The announcement follows an award for TransCanada to build the $2.1 billion Sur de-Texas-Tuxpan natural gas pipeline in Mexico, backed by a 25-year service contract with the Comision Federal de Electricidad, Mexico's state-owned power company.
The 500-mile pipeline will start at a Texas border point and then run about 500 miles into Mexico. An in-service date is expected by late 2018.
Canada relies heavily on the North American market for exports, though most of that heads to the United States. With Asian economic growth outpacing that of North America, the government is keen on tapping into new foreign markets for gas with port facilities like Kitimat in British Columbia.
In Mexico, however, TransCanada has boasted that it already has a $5 billion footprint and is supporting what it said was "one of the most important natural gas infrastructure projects for that country's future" with pipeline developments.
"Collaboration between our two countries is already extensive, but now is the time for us to do more together, to make our relationship deeper, broader, and mutually more productive for the benefit of all our people," the joint presidential statement read.