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News Article

New Agency for a Reformed Industry

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 16:05

Since 2008, CNH has been tasked with regulating Mexico’s hydrocarbons industry, including industrial security and environmental protection, while the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), has had virtually no say over hydrocarbon issues. This situation was modified by the Energy Reform, leading to the creation of a new national agency to safeguard natural resources and supervise the environmental impact from industrial activity. Members of the Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) stressed the importance of this initiative and pointed to a tendency in the international oil and gas industry to separate administrative functions in regulating organisms. The trend consists of concentrating on three main areas: hydrocarbon management, environmental protection, and industrial security. PVEM members claim that many discussions during the creation of the Energy Reform revolved around economic risks but insisted for environmental liabilities to be included in its framework as well.

Mexico’s new regulatory authority, the National Agency of Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection (ANSIPA) will take charge of creating, expanding, and implementing new rules pertaining to environmental protection and industrial security in the oil and gas industry. It will also be mandated with the well-being of all workers involved in any activity related to the hydrocarbon sector, taking this responsibility over from CNH. The areas subjected to the regulation and supervision of ANSIPA include exploration, production, processing, transportation, storage, and refining of hydrocarbons and petroleum-based products. It is important to point out that the agency will be responsible for overseeing facility dismantling and abandonment, usually called decommissioning, as well as integral residue management. ANSIPA will operate as an independent administrative body of SEMARNAT. “The agency will have to comply with its safety and environmental duties without clashing or duplicating SEMARNAT’s obligations,” explains Gabriel Quadri de la Torre, Managing Partner of Enerclima. ANSIPA will have to rapidly establish protocols to deal with emergencies in the industry, such as training local communities on how to act in case of a disaster, and address the troublesome issue of fuel theft. Similarly, the agency will set the guidelines for operational risk assessment and mitigation, warranty requirements, and insurance schemes. It will undertake pertinent investigations in case of industrial accidents and implement and observe international technical standards. Companies participating in the hydrocarbon sector will be subject to ANSIPA’s regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help ensure that energy and natural resources are used efficiently. “The Energy Reform establishes the creation of this new agency to regulate all security and environmental issues within the hydrocarbon sector,” summarizes Alma América Porres Luna, Commissioner of CNH. “Once the secondary legislation is issued, ANSIPA will be in charge of supervising the development of the deepwater wells from the safety, security, and environmental protection standpoints.”