Mexico's Minister of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, said North America's energy trade would continue even if NAFTA is ended, but it will be more powerful if the free trade agreement is successfully revamped.
"I don't think it would be threatened, but if it continues, it would enhance its growth," he said. "I can say that the energy chapter in NAFTA is a chapter of coincidences among the three countries. There are conditions that make North America the most competitive region in the world."
Coldwell said NAFTA is important for energy integration even though the crossborder connections were there long before the 1994 agreement. But since then, the energy relationship has boomed. There is an eighth round of negotiations expected in the efforts to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
"It's obviously very important because it's important for energy integration in the region. In 1994, when NAFTA was signed, back then interregional trade was one-third. It's nearly half. Energy trade is double the rest of goods and services," he said.
Coldwell was speaking to CNBC at the annual CERAWeek conference hosted by IHS Markit in Houston, where 3,500 industry officials gathered from across the world. Mexico's minister appeared on a panel with Canada Natural Resources Minister James Carr and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and discussed how the interconnections of the energy industry tie the three countries together naturally. The U.S. imports Mexican oil and sells it gasoline and natural gas, while the U.S. buys oil, gasoline and power from Canada, while selling it oil and natural gas.