Drilling equipment, nearly a quarter billion dollars worth, was ordered from American companies by Mexico's national oil company four years ago, but never paid for.
Left on the brink of financial disaster, more than 100 American vendors, many here in Houston, have been seeking a big voice to plead their case. Today those hopes were answered.
"At the tail end of the contract, it appears PEMEX just turned and walked and refused to pay their bill. The consequence already is that we have lost about 2,000 jobs as a result of PEMEX breaking their contract and refusing to pay their bill," said Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
The broken deal that's caught Senator Cruz's attention has left drilling rigs idle in Splendora, living quarters sitting in Baytown and mast sections rusting in Galena Park. Vendors involved with the deal say they've been forced to cut loose valuable workers and can't afford to bid for new business.
A strong advocate of expanding American energy expertise and investment into Mexico, Senator Cruz sharply condemned the PEMEX breach of faith as bad for both countries.
"When you have a PEMEX, which is a government owned oil company, the actions they are taking are very much the actions of the government and so I think it is perfectly appropriate for the U.S. administration to step forward defending the interest of Americans, defending the interest of Texans," said Cruz.
Cruz made the PEMEX remarks before addressing a room packed with energy industry leaders at the American Petroleum Institute gathering in Houston. Senator Cruz pledged to work toward making permanent recent Republican tax cuts and to eliminate more of what he called "job killing regulations" in the oil patch.