UT-ITAM Partnership for Mexico Energy Sector Advancement

The Training, Internships, Exchanges, and Scholarships (TIES) Initiative
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development
Through the Higher Education for Development (HED)

In August 2007, CEE-UT along with the Jackson School of Geosciences collaborators, Dr. Chip Groat and the Energy and Earth Resources degree program (EER), was awarded a grant by Higher Education for Development to establish a partnership with Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). 

The objective of this partnership is to educate and train skilled professionals for the energy industry and contribute to better informed decision makers and citizens. Key components of the partnership include student and faculty exchanges, expansion of ITAM faculty capacity, collaboration on targeted research and outreach activities.

Read award announcement from HED
Download CEE HED grant fact sheet

Four ITAM Scholars Enroll in JSG EER Program
Four ITAM students - Angel Baca, Miguel Baca, Gilberto Calderon and Andres Gallardo - were selected and started studies at EER program. The students will be studying towards a Master's degree.

ITAM Faculty Attend Training in US
On May 12-23, 2008 ITAM staff took part in CEE's annual capacity-building program "New Era in Oil, Gas & Power Value Creation." In addition to class sessions, participants visited regulatory agencies in Austin, the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, and visited with UT staff (see below). They also participated in a team project, as part of New Era program assignment. ITAM delegates at New Era together worked on a project evaluating the siting of an LNG import terminal on the West Coast of Mexico. They first reviewed the natural gas demand and supply conditions within the greater Mexican energy scene in order to gauge the need for such an LNG plant. Then they had to evaluate the global competition for LNG supplies in order to judge whether or not there will be enough LNG for this terminal and at what price as well as time constraints regarding building the plants and putting them into operation matched with demand and supply tendencies. Last but not least, they also focused on possible impacts (environmental, safety, economic) of the project on the local communities.

ITAM Faculty Attending New Era Program

ITAM staff visited with UT faculty
During their visit to Texas in May 2008, ITAM staff visited the University of Texas at Austin campus to meet with the UT faculty. A breakfast meeting was held wit the following attendees: Michael Webber ( International Energy and Environmental Policy, CIEEP ), Jessica Smith and Heidi Penix (Energy and Earth Resources Program); Angel Baca (EER student), Chris Jablonowski (Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering , UT ), and Kara Kockelman (UT Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering). Among others, items discussed included ITAM student selection for studies at UT and teaching/student exchange ideas. Discussions were also held with regard to curriculum development. ITAM is developing an undergraduate energy economics course as the first test for curriculum development. Teaching methods and evaluation forms were also discussed in order to allow participants to learn about ways to engage students in newer ways of learning.

Through interaction with UT faculty, ITAM faculty received a better understanding of the teaching approach in US institutions and will use the information in enhancement of energy courses at ITAM. These activities will also help build ITAM's capacity to serve as a center of excellence on energy issues.

ITAM student Angel Baca Starts Studies at UT-Austin
ITAM student Angel Baca was selected and started his studies at UT-Austin to pursue a Master's degree in Energy and Earth Resources. Angel Baca has taken on a leadership role with the EER student group, Energy Resources Group, and in re-establishing a UT based student group for the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN). In summer, Angel Baca spent summer months working on various research projects, as part of his exchange program. He worked with Dr. Chris Jablonowski on economic forecasts and computer modeling.

UT-ITAM Collaboration on Research Started
Partnership participants started collaborative research on targeted topics:

  • Talks about a new future collaboration between UT-Austin and ITAM and more specifically between professors Michael Webber and Victor Cruz were held. They both talked about the current work on biofuels with their student in their own institutions and therefore a possibility of applying for a new TIES grant is to be explored.
  • Research work in several areas was done. ITAM's professor Rossana Fuentes Berain wrote a white paper on Mexico's current political situation in relation the Executive's proposal for Energy Reform in the country for which she researched by interviewing experts on Energy as well as different key public officials and legislators.
  • Research was done by Duncan Wood on Energy Security in order to write a paper.
  • ITAM's professor Tapan Sinha is writing a paper on Pidiregas long term investment projects in Mexicana oil and gas.

UT Mexico week 2008
On February 27, 2008, a special program on energy in Mexico was held at ITAM as part of UT Mexico week and to kick off the UT-ITAM partnership. More than 100 people in industry, government and academia participated. A keynote presentation was provided by Dr. Francisco Salazar, Chairman of Mexico's Energy Regulatory Commission. An overview of Mexico's congressional elections was provided by ITAM faculty member Dr. Jeff Weldon.

As part of the UT-ITAM partnership, ITAM has become the host organization for the Red Energetica (Mexican Energy Network). ITAM has held a number of programs through the Red.

The joint UT-ITAM program in February 2008 was directed specifically toward key decision making at the national level on Mexico's energy policy. The forum helped the CRE to clarify its requirements in order to be more effective as an oversight agency, and contributed to proposals to strengthen CRE that are in current legislation being debated by Mexico's Congress.

Return to CEE International Energy Partnerships Page