Alejandra Bueno
Strategic Ally in Texas
Access to Energy
Miguel Marmolejo
External Strategic Researcher in Energy Affairs
Access to Energy
View from the Top

Guidance That Reflects Core Values Boosts Success

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 16:16

Q: What makes Access to Energy unique among the shelter companies in Mexico?

MM: Our biggest added value is not the ability to provide specific, isolated services, but the integration of these services that gives our clients the ability to review their business model considering social, cultural and economic factors in Mexico. We can determine if the business model is suited to the Mexican market or not. If it is not, we can suggest how to change it so that the business becomes successful, all according to the company’s core purpose. Few companies can offer this kind of service, as most focus solely on activities to create companies in Mexico, and not on the validation of the business model. Nevertheless, it is much better to spend time and resources on the initial planning of the business than to jeopardize the company because the business model was not compatible with the reality of the country.

AB: Any new participant in the energy market can establish a company in Mexico. Our group, meanwhile, offers companies entering the market the businessmodel understanding and integral services they will need. We make sure that a Mexican entity created to develop energy projects will fulfill all the corporate and fiscal requirements to participate in a number of energy projects. Besides providing corporate and fiscal services, we can also help our clients to immerse in the new energy markets in Mexico.

One clear example of our abilities is the service we provided to one of our clients that already had operations in the US. This client was not sure which business structure to establish when entering the Mexican market due to the different terminologies used in both markets. After discussing their roles and activities as new electricity market participants we analyzed the best corporate, labor and fiscal options and assisted in their specific permitting process before the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Center for the National Control of Energy. We sat with this client, offered all our services and determined that the best option was to become an energy broker, instead of an energy supplier. The Mexican energy market is unique and with our services, companies can comfortably venture into Mexico, even acquiring a network of potential clients and suppliers.

Q: How can Access to Energy provide such a complex integration of services for new companies?

AB: Access to Energy has a great deal of experience offering shelter services to companies that want to enter new markets. We know that no client has just one specific issue. We discuss with our clients the whole spectrum of their needs and expectations and work with them in structuring a road map to accomplish their objectives in Mexico. Our team understands the wholesale electricity market, the upstream bidding process and associated logistics very well. One of the sectors where we have focused the most is oil and gas, which gives us a strong knowledge of the energy markets in Mexico that we can use to further leverage the market entrance services we provide to our clients.

Our intention is to become a one-stop-shop for our clients to solve any legal, fiscal or labor hurdle they may face. We are prepared to work with our clients and to offer other services such as due diligence and risk assessment of their projects. This is especially important for foreign companies entering the Mexican market for the first time. We work hard to do more than just help them with their taxes and legal needs. While any company can establish a corporate entity in Mexico, what we offer is a full integral approach to meet their needs. With lawyers that practice law both in the US and in Mexico, we can provide insights into not only the law and the technical side of the energy sector, but also the cultural, social and environmental aspects of doing business in both countries. Having people who can not only translate fluently but who also know the implications of the legal terminology being translated is a strong asset for a company that offers market entrance services, but one that is not easy to find.

MM: When dealing with the energy sector, the language used by the law is very technical. It is not enough to have a very good lawyer who is fluent and expert in applying the law, but he must also be fluent and expert in applying technical language, both in Spanish to know exactly what the rule says, and in English to explain to international customers the meaning and interpretation of the law. We have a complete team comprised of accountants, engineers and attorneys, as well as an important network of allies that provide us with the needed knowledge when it is not available in our core business. One example is the organization CALMECAC, which provides our group all the needed knowledge related to both national and international certifications.

Q: What trends do you see in the Mexican energy market and how will Access to Energy support their development?

AB: One area that needs more support is the development of an energy market in the northern region of the country that simplifies imports and creates the necessary supporting infrastructure. At Access to Energy we have participated in different talks that typically agree on the need to harmonize the energy regulations between the two countries, favoring a more interconnected grid and generating additional resiliency and energy security for our region.

MM: Although the renewable energy sector is more focused on reducing greenhouse emissions, we need to understand that sustainability is not only being environmentally friendly but also economically stable. At Access to Energy we understand that, and bring financial sustainability to energy companies for the long run. We have seen a wave of companies from the financial community opening up sustainability offices in Mexico to get a share of the renewables market that is flourishing here.

Q: What is needed to further incentivize the entrance of more companies into the Mexican energy market?

AB: We have achieved a lot in Mexico. The energy market is expanding but it has to mature. This is reflected in the fact that we had to put some of the projects we were developing on hold due to delays in the publication of certain pieces of the regulations. At the same time, this early stage opens up many opportunities that market participants can take advantage of.

MM: Mexico needs to keep working on the development of its regulatory framework. The rules have to be crystal clear and market-oriented for entrant companies to find it an interesting and level playing field where their investments can grow. Courts also have to be up to date with the new market, with the ability to understand, follow and apply the rules according to both a business and technological vision. This is not only important to increase the number of companies working in Mexico, but also to be able to produce more clean energy, ultimately allowing the country to reduce its GHG emissions and have a clean and sustainable energy matrix. 

Fortunately, the fact that more and more companies are entering the market not only to participate in the generation of energy but across the sustainability spectrum, such as in the future green bonds and carbon market, suggests the possibilities the Mexican market has to offer.