Good afternoon distinguished guests… all 100 of you. It is a great honor for me to be here to celebrate your inclusion into a very select group of leaders representing Mexico’s energy sector. A sector that, no doubt, has the eyes of the world upon it and one that represents the great challenges and promise shaping Mexico’s future.
Since you are the experts, I have no reason to fill your time reiterating statistics about our bilateral energy trade, (which is very robust!), or barrels per day of production, crude exports, markets prices, Round One auctions, smart grids, electricity capacity or clean energy goals. You all are deeply involved, daily, in what is happening in Mexico’s vibrant energy sector.
Your work though is more than just “managing” processes and policy, you are the acknowledged “LEADERS” of Mexico’s energy sector and it is to that capacity that I wish to speak this afternoon.
Allow me to address three uncertainties of leadership by which, among many things, can be a measure of success and failure:
Vision – Conviction – Courage
Successful leaders have a vision of their destiny, of where they want or need to lead the organization and as well as the country.
Within Mexico’s energy sector, your collective vision, as leaders, is clear- a more open, competitive, transparent, technologically advanced, responsive and yes, even more profitable sector. One that provides for Mexicans today, and in the future, and offers opportunities for increased trade, investment, employment and a cleaner environment.
The reforms that affect in many ways the fabric of all Mexican’s lives has put Mexico squarely in the center of a global, competitive, volatile, energy market. They will need leaders to think years ahead in planning for such concerns as human capital capacities to meet a more technologically demanding sector. Yet the ongoing reforms also signal to the world that Mexico is ready for the challenge to compete in that market place and in fact, in some instances, Mexico wants to lead.
For example, by hosting this May in Merida, the Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) and the Clean Energy Ministerial, Mexico displays in concrete terms its leadership towards and vision of a more sustainable energy future that supports the development not only of hydrocarbon resources but of renewables and climate-friendly power generation.
Vision without conviction will not last thecritics, the unexpected problems, market conditions over which you have no control, and pundits who can challenge your vision based on daily events or trends moving contrary to your goals. It is your collective conviction to move forward that will bring change.
Obviously, the currently open Round One bidding processes on shallow water oil and gas resources have presented challenges to its administrators and potential bidders. Mexican regulatory agencies are being built and others are transitioning responsibilities to new agencies. Moreover, recent lower market crude prices (50 percent drop in 7 months) have contributed to a view that perhaps Mexico is trying to move too fast. All of these types of issues have quickly tested the vision of the energy reforms and the conviction to carry them out.
Moving forward is not to say changes cannot be made. Adapting to new facts and unforeseen conditions i.e to real market circumstances will help the reform process maintain its long-term course towards a more productive sector. There is a saying that “The best captains are made in the worst storms.” As Mexico’s energy sector leaders, your skills and convictions will be challenged. If you continue to seek with conviction, improvements, sustainability, security, and clarity, there is a bright energy future for Mexico.
To be courageous requires no exceptional qualifications. It is an opportunity that sooner or later is presented to us all. Politics and business merely furnish two arenas which impose special tests of courage.
The introduction, passage, and implementation of historic energy sector reforms in Mexico took, in many ways, exemplary courage. It took courage to admit change was needed when little had existed for 75 years and it took courage to put aside partisan interests in order to reach compromise.
As the energy reforms continue to be implemented and change the energy landscape of Mexico, it will take courage to admit all may not be perfect, but still strive to make it so.
One such endeavor – developing a more competitive electricity market in generation, transmission, distribution, commercialization and residential consumption is a monumental task. The plan to reduce costs and prices for electricity in an open, competitive market creates never-ending policy and business planning challenges. But with these reforms, leaders like you have the opportunity to create something new and better and to set an example for what good policy and good business practices can create.
Our Common Interests
The United States and Mexico share a strong energy trade relationship. We share in each other’s successes. Energy is the foundation on which we grow our manufacturing, our transportation, our trade, and our security. What we are all ultimately working for is a stronger, more competitive North America, and energy security is fundamental to achieving this goal. Your vision, conviction and courage will be central to our bilateral success.
I will close now with my thanks to Petróleo & Energía for the invitation to speak, with thanks to you 100 leaders for the excellent work you are doing in your respective fields and in all the ways you are contributing to Mexico’s success. The road ahead is not easily navigated but with Mexico’s resources, such as the leadership in this room, I have no doubt Mexico has a bright future.