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Analysis

Environmental Responsibility in Shale

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 11:09

The Energy Reform not only shaped the way private parties will participate in the Mexican energy sector, but it also modified how the new productive enterprises of the state will be held accountable. “Environmental laws are actually enforced more than people would believe and fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government,” says Marcela Ánimas Madrazo, Head of the Environmental Practice of Mijares, Angoitia, Cortes y Fuentes. “The statute of limitation of environmental affairs is changed from five to 12 years. The goal is to make private parties responsible and liable, enabling environmental authorities to better enforce regulations and hold both CFE and its contractors accountable.” Horacio de Uriarte, Partner and Head of the Energy and Infrastructure Practice of Mijares, Angoitia, Cortes y Fuentes, believes shale gas will provide big opportunities for private investment, partly because gas does not have the historical baggage of petroleum. This resource has played an important role in the Energy Reform because it is an affordable fuel with low carbon emissions. De Uriarte recalls a time when Mexico had a gas surplus but the country is now facing a continuously growing gas deficit. “According to international experts such as the EIA, the country has among the world’s largest shale gas reserves but Mexico is lagging years behind when it comes to developing these shale resources. Mexico could create a world-class shale gas industry with responsible environmental practices if the country learns from international best practices.