Drillers may soon cross the U.S. border and begin hydraulic fracturing on Mexican soil. The main issues standing in their way at this point are some of the most dangerous, violent criminals in the world.
It will be up to the Mexican government, perhaps with the help of U.S. and Canadian oil companies, to neutralize the Zetas and Gulf Cartels. Both are savage gangs notorious for drug and gun running. Their turf is partly on Mexico’s shale patch, a place where U.S. drillers have traditionally been reluctant to travel due to abundant violence, murder, and oil theft by the gangs.
Montserrat Ramiro of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness said that the cartels are “very violent… You have to be vigilant of your employees so they don’t get kidnapped. If you don’t have a beefed-up security strategy, you can be extorted.”
In an effort to join the energy boom, Mexican President Peña Nieto recently reversed Mexico’s ban on private oil and gas drilling, which was previously in place for seven decades. The potential to boost both the American and Mexican economy is significant since Mexico is estimated to have 42 billion barrels of oil.
Consultant Luis Miguel Labardini said, “It will be a game-changer if we are successful in bringing down the successful shale operators from the U.S.”
Sylvia Longmire, Breitbart Texas’ contributing editor and border security expert said, “One of the primary security concerns since President Peña Nieto decided to privatize oil exploration was the exposure of cartel-dominated parts of Mexico to foreign investors and oil exploration crews. Organized crime groups have a long history of tapping into Pemex pipelines to siphon off petroleum and sell it on the black market, and competition is fierce between groups who want to control these lucrative areas.”
“The expansion of international oil exploration would be a boom to both the Mexican government and US energy businesses,” she continued. “But any energy company choosing to explore new opportunities in Mexico needs to keep the cartel piece in mind.”
The states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, are rich with shale but ridden with gang crime. Louie Palu, an American who closely reported on the Mexican gangs from 2011-2013 said, “Tamaulipas is not in government control. There is not a single business there that in some way does not pay off the organized crime groups.”
So far, a relatively small number of shale wells have been drilled in Mexico. But across the border in Texas, 1.2 million barrels of oil are obtained per day from the Eagle Ford shale in the southern part of the state. Some parts of Eagle Ford can be accessed from Mexico — this gives the country great fracking potential.
At this point, however, it is unclear exactly how Peña plans to deal with the Zetas and Gulf Cartel.