Mexico: National Agency For Industrial Safety And Environmental Protection For The Oil & Gas Industry

Constitutional amendments enacted on December 20, 2013 laid the ground for unparalleled structural changes in Mexico's energy sector, with far reaching implications in the environmental arena. The creation of a new environmental and industrial safety authority specialized in the oil & gas industry is one of the many substantial changes resulting from the Mexican energy reform.

On August 11th, 2014 the Law on the National Agency for Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection for the Oil & Gas Industry (the "National Agency") was enacted with effect as of August 12th, 2014. Following we provide a brief summary of some of the most relevant aspects of this new law.


The National Agency, entity under the umbrella of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources ("SEMARNAT") -de-concentrated organism-, will have technical and management independence. The National Agency will be headed by an Executive Director who will be freely appointed and removed by the President of Mexico.

Carlos R嶲ules, former sub-director for Operations and Execution of Strategies at PEMEX, has been appointed as the first Executive Director.


The National Agency has been entrusted with regulation, inspection and sanction powers in matters related to industrial and operational safety and environment for the Oil & Gas industry. For the purposes of this law, the Oil & Gas industry includes certain activities of the hydrocarbon, petroleum, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas industry, as well as certain activities associated with petrochemical pipelines.

In matters related to industrial and operative safety, the National Agency is empowered to issue binding regulations for the adoption and compliance of technical standards, to prevent and contain hydrocarbon spills and leakages and for remediation actions, as the case may be.


In connection with the protection of the environment, the National Agency will be in charge of the processing of applications and the granting of permits for the Oil & Gas industry in matters of environmental impact and risk, emissions into the atmosphere, hazardous waste and their handling plans, forestry use of land changes and release of genetically modified organisms applied in bioremediation actions of polluted sites.

Such permits are currently granted by SEMARNAT through some of its administrative units, such as the General Direction for Environmental Impact and Risk, the General Direction for Forestry and Soil Management and the General Direction for the Comprehensive Management of Hazardous Materials and Risky Activities, among others.

Upon the enactment of the National Agency's internal regulations, the National Agency will take control of the processing of such applications and the granting of such permits. Authorizations previously granted by SEMARNAT will continue to be in full force and effect pursuant to the terms and conditions under which they were granted.

Applications for permits pertaining to the Oil & Gas industry currently in process of evaluation before SEMARNAT will be transferred to the National Agency for their resolution; however their processing will be delayed for up to 25 business days as a result of the transfer of certain powers to the National Agency.

Authorizations related to the electric power industry will remain under the umbrella of the current administrative units of the SEMARNAT.

A noteworthy aspect of this new law is that the regulated parties will be able to evidence compliance with obligations set forth in licenses, permits, authorizations and registrations under the jurisdiction of the National Agency through external auditors' reports. To counterweight this administrative facility, external auditors may only provide their services to the same regulated party for a maximum 3-year term.

Obligations for Regulated Parties

Some of the key obligations to which regulated parties are bound on matters of industrial and operative safety are:

  • Give notice to the National Agency of any risk that may jeopardize the industrial or operational safety or the environment, such as incidents, accidents, releases or spills.
  • Implement a management system for the prevention, control and improvement of performance at their facilities. The regulated entities must have an area responsible for the implementation, evaluation and improvement of this system.
  • Include tag-along obligations for their contractors. Regulated parties' contractors shall adhere or implement a management system in compliance with requirements to be issued by the National Agency, in those cases in which the activities under contract may result in risks to the public, the environment or facilities.
  • File on an annual basis a compliance report of their obligations.


Only certain public officers, as established in the internal regulations of the National Agency, will be able to hold meetings with regulated parties to discuss matters that those parties present to the evaluation or consideration of the agency. Those meetings will be recorded and filed. Access to information discussed in such meetings will be restricted, except for SEMARNAT, the head of the National Agency and the federal supervisory departments.

A record of each and all meetings will be kept. Such record will include information such as: identity of the attendees and matters discussed during such meeting. This information will be made public through the National Agency's website.

The development of the meetings shall observe the guidelines to be issued by the Executive Director of the agency.


The National Agency is empowered to impose fines which currently range from US$38,000 and up to US$38 million, approximately. The amounts of these fines may duplicate in the event of second-time offenses, making them the heaviest fines in the federal administrative arena.

The National Agency may also suspend the effects or revoke licenses, authorizations, permits and registrations, as well as penalize severe or continuous violations with warnings, suspension and even with the removal or disqualification of personnel providing services to the holders of hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation activities pursuant to the Hydrocarbons Law; the latter being a debatable matter.

What's next?

Upon the enactment of the secondary energy laws, the President announced that the Interior Regulations of the National Agency would be enacted and published in the Official Gazette of the Federation by November 2014.

Furthermore, upon the assignment of a budget by the House of Representatives for the National Agency and the enactment of its internal regulations, the National Agency will formally commence activities. It is worth noting that the law at issue is silent on the term in which it shall occur.

The Executive Director will issue an internal administrative act establish the guidelines for meetings among authorized officers from the National Agency and the representatives of the regulated parties.


For the avoidance of doubt and duplicities of powers with those of SEMARNAT, in our view, this law requires certain precisions to clearly establish the jurisdiction of the National Agency over certain matters, including the issuance of certain environmental permits.

It is expected that the matter will be cleared in the regulations to follow or by internal guidelines to be issued by SEMARNAT and the National Agency.

Originally published 21 August 2014

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers
The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable
I often find critical information not available elsewhere
As in-house counsel, Mondaqs service is of great value

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think youve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.coms content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltds services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with no disclosure in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a users hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friends name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a users personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that users personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the Your Profile page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.