Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Sending natural gas across the border to Mexico opens the door for an "incredible opportunity" for Texas, a commissioner at a state energy regulator said.
Ryan Sitton, a commissioner at the regulatory Texas Railroad Commission, met with state officials and private sector representatives to discuss how reforms in Mexico's energy sector could help Texas.
"We have an incredible opportunity in Texas to provide Mexico with much-needed energy resources while stimulating our own economy," Sitton said in a statement.
Shale company ONEOK Partners announced plans two years ago to build a 200-mile long pipeline that would carry natural gas from a shale basin in Texas to an international connection at the Mexican border. Through a joint venture with Mexican gas transmission company Fermaca Infrastructure, the Roadrunner pipeline would have the capacity to ship as much as 640 million cubic feet of shale natural gas per day once completed in 2019.
Sitton last month said Mexico imports about 60 percent of its natural gas from the United States and most of that comes from Texas. By 2019, U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico could double.
"Mexico's energy reforms and demand coupled with near historic highs in U.S. production are creating an enormous opportunity from which both countries will benefit," he said in comments published late Tuesday.
Mexico's government in July held its first auction to access capacity to natural gas infrastructure as part of the country's sweeping energy reforms. Those reforms could bring in up to $415 billion in investments over the next 20 years as the country establishes links to the rest of the world.
Sitton's comments come as U.S. President Donald Trump works to renegotiate the terms of the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said from Mexico City in early September a "new modern agreement" was on the table that could "address the needs of those harmed by the current NAFTA, especially our manufacturing workers."
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Monday that all indexes for manufacturing, service and retail moved higher in August. The three-month average for wages in manufacturing last month was the highest in three years.