The University of Alberta will sign on to help the Mexican government redevelop its lagging oil and gas industry.

Mexico will open up its oil-and gas-sector after 75 years of state ownership.

"They are running into diminishing returns of their efforts, so they need innovation," said Britta Baron, University of Alberta vice­ provost.

"And they have finally decided to liberalize and privatize the energy sector, so there are a number of governance and management issues that they need to resolve."

The university will be asked to solve the technical challenges of modernizing the industry, Baron said.

Researchers will also help Mexicans train and educate workers capable of running the underperforming oil and gas industry, she said.

"It's exciting, and of course it comes with money to facilitate the research," she said.

The deal can also open doors for collaboration with partners in other parts of the world, Baron said.  

"The University of Alberta is a leading research and education institute in the energy sector and will become a key partner for Mexico," Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, Mexican secretary of building, said in a news release.

The deal is worth $16 million.