Q: A few years ago, you launched the Law and Government Studies Center. How has the center evolved?
A: I have worked as a lawyer in the Mexican oil and gas industry for 25 years now. My expertise was developed by supporting national and international companies in doing business with PEMEX and other important players in the country. Due to the acquired knowledge, in 2013 I had the idea of creating the Law and Government Studies Center. The center works as a training center on legal and regulatory topics focused mostly on the oil and gas industry. However, the scope of the center is wider as it also covers topics such as power generation, anticorruption practices and compliance. For the last five years, the center has received and trained over 700 professionals, most of them employees of the major IOCs and NOCs, including PEMEX. The center has also held workshops regarding upstream midstream, downstream and retail regulations. Likewise, we developed some other courses in regard to the electricity industry and markets. One of our recent generations consisted of PEP engineers only, for them to understand the new dynamics of the Mexican oil and gas legal framework. On a general level, around sixty percent of the attendees to the Law and Government Studies Center are clients of ours, while the rest are general public interested in deepening their expertise and knowledge of the industry.
Q: How is Núñez Rodríguez Abogados (NRA) motivating the participation of more academic institutions in the oil and gas Mexican industry?
A: Apart from working in the oil and gas industry, I have been part of Anahuac University’s academic body for 23 years. I teach courses related to international and contractual law. In a common partnership, we decided to create a business-oriented initiative of strategic energy studies. This initiative will start operations in 2019 with the opening of the first Master’s degree focused on energy security, which we identified as an important topic that the new administration is trying to highlight. The four main activities that the initiative wants to develop are research and development, graduate and undergraduate programs, organization of industry conferences and consultancy services. In March 2018, we organized the first edition of the Anahuac University Energy Forum, with 500 attendees. The main topics discussed were energy security, social and environmental responsibility and education in the energy industry.
Q: What key competitive advantages will the Anahuac University initiative offer to the next generation of Mexican energy leaders?
A: A first advantage is that it will be a multidisciplinary initiative. We need to understand that every energy sector needs support from experts with different backgrounds. If you want to develop an energy project, you need an engineer, a lawyer, a business developer, a financial consultant and a social development expert, to mention a few. The center will merge and train professionals from different backgrounds. A second advantage is that the center will introduce an international perspective of the energy industry. Mexico’s energy industry needs the expertise and involvement of not only local but international entities. A third advantage is that it will have a B2B orientation to improve our students’ entrepreneurial capabilities. And the fourth, and probably the most important advantage, is that this project will be focused on soft skills. It is important to have technical and hard skills but the center will focus mainly on developing soft skills, such as social development and respect for the environment.
Q: What are the main characteristics that define Mexico as an attractive market for foreign investment?
A: Mexico has a very robust and solid legal framework that supports all the investors in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. It also has international trade agreements with 46 countries that strengthen its legal framework even more. Regarding the renegotiation of NAFTA, which now is called USMCA, the treaty has a specific chapter stating that every party involved in a contract derived from the Energy Reform will fully respect Mexican constitutional law as well as every secondary law derived from the Reform.
Núñez Rodríguez Abogados is a law firm that combines solid experience and knowledge from lawyers, consultants and special advisers in the development of energy and infrastructure projects by solving complex legal problems of a diverse nature.