The Rule of Law and Mexico's Energy Reform


The 2013 changes to the constitutional framework and the summer 2014 enabling legislation in Mexico’s energy industry represent a thorough break with the prevailing national narrative as well as the political and legal traditions of 20th century Mexico. Mexico is about to embark on an unprecedented opening of its energy sector in the midst of important unknown factors, as well as a fiercely competitive and expanding international energy market. Mexico is one of the last developing countries to open its energy sector to foreign investment, and although there are important lessons that can be learned from other countries’ experiences, this does not imply that the opening will be necessarily as successful as the government promises or that the implementation of the new laws will go smoothly. Almost certainly adjustments will have to be carried out as the new laws are executed. That is, after the enabling legislation goes into effect, important questions of law will emerge during the implementation and unavoidably refinements to the legislation will have to take place. 

This project will focus on the challenges Mexico faces in implementing energy reforms. It will analytically and critically examine some of the key legal aspects of the new energy sector in Mexico by drawing on scholars and experts from American and Mexican institutions in order to bring attention to the different component parts of the new Mexican energy sector from a legal standpoint.










This study is directed by the Baker Institute’s Mexico Center at Rice University and the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law at the University of Houston Law Center, in association with the School of Government and Public Transformation of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, the Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo A.C. (CIDAC), and the Faculty of Law and Criminology at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

The experts and scholars participating in the project also represent the Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies, Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas and the University of Texas at Brownsville. On March 13, 2015, the Mexico Center team participated in an authors' workshop at the Santa Fe campus of Tecnológico de Monterrey.  





As part of the project, the partner organizations will host a conference to present the research findings. The first conference was held in Houston at the Baker Institute, co-hosted by the Baker Institute Mexico Center and the University of Houston's Center for U.S. and Mexican Law. The conference focused on the challenges Mexico faces in implementing energy reform. It examined key aspects on the new energy sector, such as global energy markets and investment protection, oversight, regulatory, and legal issues as well as social and security challenges. Dr. Alejandro Ponce, chief research officer of the World Justice Project, delivered the keynote address, and morning remarks were offered by Luis Rubio, chairman of the Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C. (CIDAC) and nonresident fellow at the Baker Institute Mexico Center.

For more information on the event, including video and photos, please visit


Chapters and Authors

Prologue: Rule of law and its meaning in Mexican social and political context

Luis Rubio


Hector Fix Fierro
Universidad Autónoma Nacional de México

Part 1: The Reform Process
The new energy system in the Mexican Constitution

José Ramón Cossío Díaz
Supreme Court Justice of Mexico

José Ramón Cossío Barragán

Mexico’s legislative reform process and its implications for the future of the energy sector

Mara Hernández

Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

José del Tronco


Part 2: Regulating the New Sector
Accountability, transparency and responsibility in Mexico’s energy reform

Ana Elena Fierro

Coordination of regulatory agencies in the energy sector: Is it optimum for the rule of law?

Miriam Grunstein
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León

Economic competition and the energy sector: The electricity and natural gas markets

Josefina Cortés Campos

Eduardo Pérez Motta
Agon Economía, Derecho y Estrategia

The new judicial and regulatory framework of the electrical sector, possibility of inclusion for medium and small businesses in the sustainability agenda

Ana Lilia Moreno

Part 3: The Internationalization of Energy
Continental energy integration in North America: The emergence of non-conventional fuels and the restructuring of integrative trends

Isidro Morales
Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

Rule of law and foreign investment in oil: Resource nationalism in Latin America and its implications for Mexico

Francisco Monaldi
Baker Institute Mexico Center and Center for Energy Studies

Arbitration and investment protection in the context of Mexico’s energy reform: An initial approximation from the cases COMMISA v. Pemex and KBR v. México

Gabriel Cavazos
Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

Part 4: Thematic and local issues
The role of local governments in the energy sector and implications of the energy reform for local governments

Pilar Rodríguez
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León

Security, the rule of law, and energy reform in Mexico

Tony Payan
Baker Institute Mexico Center

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera
University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

The environmental challenges of Mexico’s energy reform

Luis Serra

Looming conflicts? Energy reform priorities and the human right of access to water in Mexico

Alejandro Posadas
Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey 

Regina Buono
Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies

Energy Reform and Socio-environmental conflicts in Mexico  

Alberto Abad Suárez 
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México