NAFTA negotiators are gathering in Washington for their fourth round of talks to update the trade deal, and energy is on the agenda — if only for two hours.
U.S., Mexican and Canadian representatives will hold just one energy session late Friday during seven days of talks ranging from gender to the environment. Details haven’t been released, but oil and gas companies are pushing for a rule on diluents, a light crude product typically sourced from the U.S. and added to heavy Canadian oil to help it flow through pipelines. Oil companies want a rule that allows up to 40 percent of diluent in cross-border oil shipments, according to a paper by the American Petroleum Institute, the Asociacion Mexicana de Empresas de Hidrocarburos and Canada’s Oil and Natural Gas Producers.
The trade groups want to loosen NAFTA rules so that producers can more easily transport oil, gas and infrastructure across both borders. That includes simplifying the process for certifying hydrocarbons’ country of origin and allowing companies to move drilling rigs, vessels and personnel across borders.