New Mexico’s oil and gas industry may be in the doldrums now, but state and economic development officials are laying the groundwork for a rapid comeback when markets improve.
Gov. Susana Martinez released a new energy plan for New Mexico in September that calls for broad infrastructure development in the state’s Permian Basin in the southeast and the San Juan Basin in the northwest to facilitate oil and gas development. That includes road improvements, new pipelines to transport crude and natural gas, and possibly a new 100-mile rail line running from Interstate 40 in Gallup to Farmington. It also calls for state efforts to encourage natural gas exports to Mexico, with new pipelines to move fuel to the industrial zone in Santa Teresa along the border for shipment southward.
The plan – the state’s first such comprehensive policy outline in at least 25 years – calls for an “all of the above” strategy for energy development statewide, including promotion of renewable energy. But it recognizes the central role the oil and gas industry plays in New Mexico’s economy, providing about a third of the state’s annual revenue, said Daniel Fine, associate director of the Center for Energy Policy at the New Mexico Institute for Mining and Technology .
“It’s based on recognition and support of the oil and gas industry as the core of the energy sector in New Mexico,” said Fine, who served as project leader for developing the state plan. “The policy helps prepare us for future recovery in the fuel price cycle, which will come back in a few years.”