US Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Mexico for pre-NAFTA talks

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Mexico for pre-NAFTA talks

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry will hold talks with Mexican officials today, a month out from renegotiations over the NAFTA

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry will hold talks with Mexican officials today, a month out from renegotiations over the NAFTA free trade deal.

Mr Perry is a firm believer in oil and gas. He served as governor of oil-rich Texas from 2000 to 2015, overseeing a 50% increase in gas extraction and the growth of a hydrocarbon superpower; the US produces more natural gas than any other country on the planet.

America’s newfound gas wealth has pushed down domestic prices and thus pushed producers to seek to export to more lucrative markets. But an archaic 1938 law requires gas exporters to seek authorisation from the Department of Energy—that is unless the destination country is a NAFTA signatory.

Naturally then, 95% of US gas exports are destined for Canada and Mexico—large and lucrative markets for Mr Perry’s old friends in the oil and gas industry. Indeed, Mexico is increasingly dependent on American gas; more than a quarter of its electricity is produced from it.

Perry’s visit to Mexico City today will lay the foundations for NAFTA talks due to commence by August 16; he’s urged his president and his neighbours to develop a “North American energy strategy”.