Feb. 19 (UPI) -- By entering the "most important energy forum in the world," Mexico is the newest, and first Latin American, country to join the IEA, its government announced.
Mexico deposited its signature on the treaty for the International Energy Agency in Belgium during the weekend, becoming the first member in Latin America.
"With this final step, Mexico enters the most important energy forum in the world," Mexican Energy Secretary Joaquín Coldwell said in a statement. "We will take our part in setting the world's energy policies, receive experienced advisory in best international practices, and participate in emergency response exercises."
The IEA last week concluded a five-day emergency response exercise meant to simulate a multilateral release of strategic oil stockpiles. The organization was founded in the 1970s to help members respond to crises like the embargo imposed by the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Usually featuring only member states, the IEA's latest drill was its broadest ever in terms of actual participation, with 44 countries playing a role. Mexico's accession makes it the 30th member of the agency.
Mexico in early February brought in about $93 billion in investments over the lifetime of the contracts, extending over the next 35 years, in one of its most successful auctions to date. In a new era where oil prices are close to $70 per barrel, 19 of the 29 contracts on the auction block were awarded, with supermajor Royal Dutch Shell taking the lead in the tenders.
The government said the results of the auction show that international companies "of great capacity and international prestige" are investing in Mexico as its energy sector grows more competitive. The prospective resources associated with the contracts are 2.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Mexico aims to produce around 3.5 million barrels per day by 2025. Production there has been on the decline and the 2025 goal would represent an increase of more than 1 million barrels per day based on a recent average.
It's already the 12th largest oil producer in the world. Through a series of reforms meant to draw investors into the energy sector, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's vision could bring in up to $415 billion in investments over the next 20 years.
"The ambitious and successful energy reforms of recent years have put Mexico firmly on the global energy policy map," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.
Peña Nieto's six-year term ends next year and Mexico is readying for presidential elections in July, coming at a time when the country is working to set a firmer economic foundation as uncertainty brews over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement.