Despite the low price of oil and natural gas, there are many exciting opportunities in the energy sector developing in Texas and Mexico. Recent reforms by the Mexican government have loosened the government's monopoly on developing hydrocarbons, meaning that for the first time in decades, private firms in Mexico can engage in the oil and gas market. As Vice Chairman of the International Trade Committee, I was in Austin recently for a joint hearing with the Energy Committee to explore how the reforms in the Mexican energy market can benefit Texans.

Hydrocarbons are a large part of the Mexican economy, making up over 30% of federal revenues. After years of declining revenue, inefficient production, and mismanagement the government is allowing private firms to operate. Just across the Texas border, a large gas shale called the Burgos Shale is promising. There are also prime areas in the Gulf of Mexico slated for bidding to the private sector.

U.S. companies are already getting in on this new shale play. For one, a new network of pipelines will be able to deliver gas from hubs like Laredo, Texas and Monterrey, Mexico. Moreover, a planned Liquified Natural Gas terminal in Brownsville (like the one in Portland) will be an opportunity to export gas to high yield markets overseas. Increased oil and gas activity in Texas and Northern Mexico will help to solidify this area as an energy leader with the promise of good jobs and a growing economy.