The Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development and the Baja, California Ministry of Economic Development in Mexico signed an agreement to promote collaboration in advancing infrastructure, technology and global market access for Utah’s energy resources. The agreement comes at a time when national trade agreements are being finalized between the U.S. and Mexico.
When it comes to trade, Laura Nelson, Governor Herbert’s energy advisor, said Utah is a “Lone Star” when it comes to negotiating agreements to export Utah’s resources. She says being a leader during these global trade disputes is what will improve relations.
“The state can really work to provide that leadership on how we can build partnerships around economic considerations, and in this instance trade,” Nelson said. “Ultimately, when you forge those economic opportunities, you’re also building a long-term partnership and relationship and overcome other challenges that you might have.”
Utah exports more energy than it imports. Nelson said the state exports around 20 percent of its energy in the form of electrons and commodities like coal and natural gas.
Governor Herbert went on a trade mission to Mexico earlier this year to explore regions in the country looking for trade partners and found that the state of Baja California, Mexico is looking to expand its infrastructure. Nelson said the expansion will also require more energy.
“Providing economic opportunities for Mexico in this case while at the same time bringing that back to our rural energy-producing communities to deliver value for them as well,” she said.
With five coal mines expanding, Nelson said projected exports of Utah coal is set to be roughly 4.5 million tons in 2018. Utah is also building a regional coalition dedicated to creating market access for transporting natural gas to Asia.