Sens. Murkowski, Heitkamp Lead Coalition Urging Oil Exports to Mexico

February 18, 2015

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., today joined with 19 of their Senate colleagues on a bipartisan letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker encouraging the administration to authorize oil exports to Mexico under the same conditions established for exports to Canada.

“It’s time to harmonize North America’s energy trade,” Sen. Murkowski said. “President Reagan authorized oil exports to Canada 30 years ago – a decision that contributed to lower consumer fuel prices and greater domestic energy production. Mexico deserves the same treatment. This is an opportunity for Congress and the administration to work together for the common good.”

“Part of our commitment to a multifaceted national energy strategy means building ties with our North American neighbors through increased collaboration on energy projects and the movement of energy products across our borders,” Sen. Heitkamp said. “Just as we have strong partnerships with our neighbors to the north in terms of petroleum and natural gas production, we need to be making concerted efforts to reduce barriers that hinder the growth of our existing relationship with Mexico. This way we can keep working to develop resources in the Gulf of Mexico and make sure the exchange of energy data isn’t upended by undue red-tape. Last spring I met with the CEO of PEMEX in Mexico to discuss continued and increased partnerships with U.S.-based companies as they begin to open up their markets, and I’ll continue working across the aisle to reduce unnecessary burdens that block our global energy development so that we can keep advancing our goal of North American energy independence for generations to come.”

The letter also calls upon the Commerce Department to approve a pending application from Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil company, to swap heavy Mexican crude oil for lighter grade U.S. petroleum. Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan all supported similar swaps with Canada between 1976 and 1985. In 1985, President Reagan cited executive authority in authorizing oil exports to Canada. Mexican officials have asked the U.S. government for this treatment to be extended to their nation.

The full text of the letter is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's website.