Tag Archive for: PEMEX

Fundamental factors to strengthen Pemex

The Government of Mexico has repeatedly mentioned that one of its main goals in the National Hydrocarbons Plan is the production of 2.6 million barrels of crude oil per day at the end of 2024.

The production profile brings components such as the base production already in place of oil fields operating in the country, the plan proposes operations of drilling and development of more than 20 new fields of which PEMEX has already been hiring and asking for authorizations for the development, contains projects related to secondary and improved recovery of the deposits that already exist and production that is associating future discoveries.

PEMEX has 22 fields for new development, of which 18 are in shallow waters.

Thanks to the investment that is planned for drilling and infrastructure, there is the possibility that in these 18 fields we might find more extension and thickness in their deposits to be found, since this has happened before.

The energy policy is being modified by the nature of the political change in the Country, the strengthening of PEMEX could be increased with support of the process of migration of Oil Assignments (Farmouts).

Fracking is a technique that is required to obtain physical resources, in the United States the increase in production is known derived from the use of this technique. Thanks to it, a high production of liquids and gas is obtained which are offered at a low price to countries like Mexico. Fracking in Mexico is a prospective resource since, whether or not it can be used as a production technique depends of a previous exploration in order to know if it can be extracted profitably since the operation in Mexico might be more expensive.

Using all the tools provided by the current legal framework in Mexico regarding energy is essential for PEMEX to increase its technical execution and financial capacity in such a way that it shares the risk.

Successful decisions will give more opportunities for the development not only of the sector, but also of the human component that makes it possible, such as engineers, people who have service companies, investors, among others.

If you want to know more information about experts from the Energy Sector in Mexico, click on the video to see the interview of Gaspar Franco Former Commissioner of the CNH and Graciela Álvarez Hoth, General Director of NRGI Broker.

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Offshore Project Development: The Road to First Oil

As new offshore operators continue to settle into their awarded blocks and develop them into a stable production phase as quickly as possible, new models of collaboration between the public and private sectors must arise in view of the new administration’s focus on PEMEX, panelists at the Mexico Oil & Gas Summit 2019, said on Wednesday July 17 in Mexico City.

Private operators and service providers are ready to comply with government plans: Graciela Alvarez Hoth, panel moderator

According to Graciela Álvarez Hoth, CEO of NRGI Broker, both private operators and Mexican service providers are ready to collaborate with the government’s plans to strengthen the NOC while also building upon the many successes achieved in a short period of time within the fields awarded through the bidding rounds. “The number of new discoveries highlights the need for exploration activities to capitalize on the available opportunities in the country,” she said.

Álvarez Hoth made her remarks on the first day of the two-day summit held at the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel as part of her introductory remarks to the panel she moderated, entitled “Offshore Project Development: The Road to First Oil.”

Four panelists from key public and private institutions provided a crucial mix of perspectives on Mexico’s offshore development, particularly in terms of achieving production in new shallow water fields.

“Talos Energy wants to have a positive impact in Mexico. The president has set his production goal and our goal is to do our part to help. ”

Francisco Noyola, Country Manager of Mexico for Talos Energy, was the first to provide the necessary background with a chronology of Talos’ success with its Zama discoveries, of which the latest appraisal well, Zama-3, was completed this past June.

He highlighted the historical breakthroughs made by Talos in the Mexican context, which have included the most core samples extracted (over 440m) and the first block unification agreement with PEMEX in Mexico’s history.

The historical dimension of these milestones promoted a transparent relationship with regulators and authorities that he believes plays a key role in their current and future success. “Talos wants to have a positive impact in Mexico. The president has set his production goal and we aim to do our part to help,” Noyola said.

“The success of MARINSA as a driller is to be committed to the objective of increasing production to contribute significantly to what Pemex and the Government of Mexico have established”

The panel then progressed toward the perspective of another private player whose successes have also been quite public as of late: Marinsa, represented by Chief Strategy Officer Sergio Suarez. After detailing the ways in which the crisis period during 2016 and 2017 prepared them for the road ahead, Suárez said that “The development of Marinsa has been the strengthened result of a set of readjustments to meet the needs of the national market and hill mentioning that Mexico has “qualified, strong Mexican suppliers and “under the conditions established by the current administration, being a national player gives us a competitive advantage. However, we also have strong alliances with international companies. ”

The CNH has had to experience “logarithmic learning” in order to perform its functions as a regulator, now it could reach response times for approvals as low as 34 days on average

Fausto Álvarez Hernández, Head of the Exploration and Production Compliance Unit at CNH, provided a direct public sector assessment of the success factors for offshore projects looking for a quick launch procedure.

He noted that CNH has had to experience “logarithmic learning” in order to perform its duties as a regulator as effectively as possible. He also praised the efficient path forward forged by ENI, Hokchi and Fieldwood toward first oil and eventual full production, which might total up to 220Mb/d from all three. “Optimization has been a key priority for CNH, particularly in approvals, as well as simplification in the documentation needed to present a project,” he said.

He also made a point of specifying that CNH now could reach turnaround times for approvals as low as 34 days on average, which he considers an extremely important component of fast offshore development.

Transparency and a long-term vision are key to sustainable social development projects. Enviromental Resources Management (ERM)

The fourth and final participant in the panel was Alberto Sambartolomé, Senior Partner at ERM, which has participated significantly in the sustainability assessments of many of Mexico’s offshore production projects. He  highlighted the chief importance of efficiently introducing new operators to the legal and social expectations of the Mexican environment.

This not only leads to reduced downtime for drilling and development through quick regulatory compliance, but it also ensures the longevity of production once first oil is reached.

Projects that engage with regulators and communities early and promptly can look forward to productivity uninterrupted by protests or shutdowns, he said. “Transparency and a long-term vision are key for sustainable social development projects.”

Our country has a historic opportunity to demonstrate the competitiveness of the sector and recover its place in the world as an oil country without losing its vision of social development and environmental responsibility, thus concluded Graciela Alvarez Hoth this applauded panel.

Mexican President Weighs Bids on Huge New Oil Refinery Construction

Sputnik News / Latin America / December 10


MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Mexico’s new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that tenders for the construction of a new large oil refinery in the country’s southeastern state of Tabasco would be announced no later than March 2019.

“The oil refinery will be built here because oil will be processed here as well, it will not be exported. This is the best site for the construction of the new refinery,” Obrador said at a ceremony of the laying of a symbolic cornerstone for the future facility as quoted by the Excelsior news portal.

The Mexican president also confirmed that the state-owned Pemex petroleum company would receive additional $3.6 billion to boost its oil production.

According to Obrador, Mexico will seek to increase oil production from the current less than 1.8 million barrels per day to 2.4 million barrels per day in 2024. The new oil refinery is expected to process 340,000 barrels of oil per day.


Sputnik News / Latin America / December 10


Relief On Horizon for Mexico Natural Gas Market, Despite Short-Term Challenges

Mexico’s natural gas market faces multiple short-term challenges, the most urgent of which is a lack of supply to power generators, petrochemical plants, and industrial consumers in the southern and southeastern part of the country, as the state-owned oil and gas producer struggles to increase output.

Amid declining gas output by national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and delays to critical midstream infrastructure that would bring abundant and inexpensive gas from Texas, consumers in southern Mexico now face the prospect of switching to more expensive fuel oil, diesel and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in order to continue operating over the coming months.

A lack of Pemex supply and scarce available cross-border pipeline capacity for private sector gas shippers, as well as a dearth of storage capacity, are compounded by the fact that a new government will take over on Dec. 1.

However, relief appears to be on the horizon. The 2.6 Bcf/d Sur de Texas-Tuxpan marine pipeline is expected to enter operation next month or in January, with the Cempoala compressor station reversal project slated to finish in April. Both projects should provide relief to consumers in the south, the energy ministry’s general director of natural gas and petrochemicals, David Rosales, told NGI’s Mexico Gas Price Index.

While details of a planned tender to construct 45 Bcf of underground storage capacity still need to be ironed out, Rosales said the hope is for the new administration to give an order to proceed with the tender by early next year.

“I think it’s very clear for them that this is a [project] that will not cost the state, and will be paid for by the users of the gas system themselves,” Rosales said.

The incoming administration has generated unease among investors with its proposed oil policies, such as a pledge to halt crude exports and to divert Pemex investments from exploration and production to new refineries, but Rosales said a dramatic shift in course on natural gas policy is less likely. An efficiently run gas segment translates directly to cheaper electricity prices for end-users, he noted.

Recent days have also seen progress on other cross-border pipeline projects that should help meet rising demand from the power sector.

San Antonio, TX-based Mirage Energy Corp. last week said it has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for reserved capacity on its proposed Texas-to-Mexico gas pipeline with commodities trader TrailStone NA Asset Holdings LLC.

The nonbinding MOU would allow TrailStone to purchase 150,000 MMBtu/d (146 MMcf/d) of reserved capacity for 10 years at a fixed tariff from the Banquete/Agua Dulce area in South Texas to Compressor Station 19 and Los Ramones interconnection points on the national pipeline network Sistrangas,” Mirage said. TrailStone is a partner and commercial operator in the recently commissioned Banquete header near Corpus Christi, TX.

The 42-inch diameter, bi-directional pipeline system under development would include nearly 140 miles of pipeline in Texas and about 103 miles of pipeline in Mexico. In addition to the four sections of pipelines in the two countries, Mirage said another interconnect in Falfurrias, TX, also in far South Texas, to Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) is being considered, as is a 14-mile pipeline in Mexico known as the Storage Line that would connect the Progreso, TX, on the border to the Brasil storage field in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Mirage expects to begin final development work on the project in December, “with a view toward receiving required United States and Mexico permits and authorizations in 3Q2019. The company has completed the necessary engineering and design of the pipeline. The alignment for the pipeline has also been substantially completed and Mirage is in the process of securing right-of-way agreements.”

Valley Crossing To Supply CFE Import Capacity

The Mirage news follows the startup of Enbridge Inc.’s Valley Crossing gas pipeline, which spans 168 miles in Texas from the Agua Dulce hub near Corpus to the Gulf of Mexico east of Brownsville.

Valley Crossing’s primary customer is Mexican state power utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), which is undertaking a massive shift to combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT) from fuel oil and diesel-fired power generation capacity. Mexico’s installed CCGT capacity stood at 28,084 MW at the end of 2017, a figure that is expected to double by 2032, according to the Energy Ministry’s 2018-2032 power sector development program.

“Valley Crossing is expected to account for about half of the CFE’s total import capacity,” Enbridge said last week. Transport capacity is “half the average daily production output of the entire Eagle Ford Shale basin — in fact, it’s more than 10% of the average daily production for the entire state of Texas.”

The pipeline is designed to “support Mexico’s growing electricity generation needs, as power companies like the CFE choose natural gas,” which is a “cleaner” burning fuel and more economical than imported liquefied natural gas, the Calgary-based operator said.

“Supply in Mexico continues to decline, but at the same time their demand continues to grow,” said Enbridge Executive Vice-President Bill Yardley. “And the U.S. has some of the most economical, plentiful and reliable natural gas supplies in the world.”

Valley Crossing connects to the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan pipeline, a joint venture of Sempra Energy unit Infraestructura Energética Nova and TransCanada Corp.

Fitch Bullish On Mexico Power Sector

A FitchRatings unit said last week it holds a positive outlook for Mexico’s gas-dependent electric power sector over the next 10 years, despite uncertainty over the energy and infrastructure policies of incoming President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is commonly known by his initials AMLO.

“We expect the Mexican power sector to register strong growth and offer investors significant opportunities over the coming decade, thanks to rising energy demand, a supportive market structure and favorable policies,” Fitch analysts said. “Our positive view for the market is premised on the expectation that AMLO will adopt a pragmatic approach and will not reverse reforms of the power sector that contribute to attracting investment in the market.”

Fitch analysts said they expect “Mexico’s total installed capacity — net of project retirements — to increase by almost 30% between 2018 and 2027, driven primarily by the development of wind, solar and thermal power projects. Moreover, we expect Mexico’s power consumption to increase by an annual average of 2.4% over the same period.”

Although wind and solar capacity is expected to increase the most on a proportional basis to current levels, conventional thermal power is seen accounting for about two-thirds of the country’s total capacity through 2026, Fitch said, citing projections from Mexican energy ministry Sener and the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Despite the overall optimistic outlook, analysts cautioned that, “AMLO’s unorthodox approach toward decision making for the infrastructure sector could weaken private companies’ interest in investing in the market.” Fitch cited investor unease over López Obrador’s recent decision to cancel a $13 billion airport for which construction was more than 30% complete via a referendum in which only about 1.1 million of Mexico’s 129.2 million people voted.

Other risks to the power sector include López Obrador’s ability, because of the comfortable majorities held by his coalition in both of the national legislative chambers, to reverse the 2013-14 energy reform of predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto.

“AMLO has long opposed the liberalization of the Mexican energy sector, although his criticisms have mostly focused on the oil and gas industry rather than the electricity industry. A risk of changes to the power sector’s regulatory framework, however, must be taken into account.”

Fitch also cited the risk of an economic slowdown in Mexico, but noted that this risk is mitigated by the tentative agreement reached Oct. 1 by Mexico, Canada and the United States on the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The agreement has yet to be completed.


Natural Gas Intelligence / Andrew Baker / November 12


Unfinished business: Putting the final touches on the USMCA

The Hill /  David L. Goldwyn / October 29


The proposed US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) makes important, but incomplete, progress in securing an integrated North American energy market.

In terms of progress, the agreement preserves zero tariffs for trade in oil, gas and petroleum products across North America. It effectively locks in Mexico’s historic energy reforms by ensuring that Mexico cannot reinstate restrictions on US investment in the oil and gas sector. A “ratchet” clause ensures that if Mexico decides to further liberalize the sector, then that higher floor becomes the new USMCA commitment.

While Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are weaker, they remain in force for certain “covered sectors,” including oil and gas investments in Mexico and power generation and pipeline investments where the investor has a contract with the government.

These are all positive steps for North American energy security. Mexico and Canada provide the United States with the heavy grades of oil not produced domestically, helping US refineries produce gasoline at the lowest possible cost. Thanks to this relationship,  the United States is an efficient net exporter of petroleum products.

However, while this progress is laudable, it remains incomplete.

In the rush to conclude the agreement, effective protection for power generation investments like new wind and solar plants, refining and natural gas infrastructure, and power transmission lines were left out, perhaps inadvertently. Contracts for these investments are with state owned enterprises (SOEs) like Mexico’s CFE and PEMEX, which do not now fall within the definition of “federal government” because they are not disposing of assets but signing a contract for service. These essential investments, in the gas and refined product infrastructure which carry US products to and through Mexico, transmission lines which carry US electricity south, and investments in power generation are not permitted to bring ISDS claims to enforce their rights.

This is an oversight, and a protection these investments should enjoy. Rather, the proposed agreement creates an uneven playing field as investors who do have a contract with the Federal government, say for exploration, are entitled to bring an ISDS claim for any of their businesses, while those who do not have such contract do not. The problem can be easily fixed by expanding the definition of federal government to include these wholly owned SOEs.

These (for now) unprotected investments are critical to North American energy security. They secure US exports of electricity and natural gas and assure the continued reliability of the North American electricity system. They are the lifelines which carry US exports to Mexico – currently our number one customer for natural gas and petroleum products.

Protecting investments in Mexico’s electricity sector improves US national security by supporting Mexico’s prosperity through a more resilient power system.

Finally, if US power sector investments in Mexico are not protected and thus potentially hindered or lost, China is certain to fill the gap.

Chinese investment in all forms of power generation, transmission, and distribution is rapidly accelerating throughout Latin America. According to a recent Atlantic Council report, cumulative flows of Chinese foreign direct investment in Latin America have reached $110 billion, with $25 billion in oil and gas investment, and $13 billion in electricity, utilities and alternative energy. China’s State Grid has invested $7 billion in Brazil, through a combination of greenfield investments and acquisitions.

If the Mexican government is willing to offer these investments protections (and they are), and create a level playing field for American companies investing in our closest neighbor, the US should not object.

Fortunately, there is still time to correct the definition of eligible claimants as both sides ready the agreement for ratification.  With these modest steps, the United States, Mexico and Canada can improve the resilience of North America’s energy system, and the US can simultaneously advance its economic and national security interests.

David L. Goldwyn is president of Goldwyn Global Strategies, an international energy advisory consultancy and serves as chairman of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center Energy Advisory Group. He served as the U.S. State Department’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs from 2009 to 2011; he previously served as assistant secretary of energy for international affairs and as national security deputy to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson. He is a member of the U.S. National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations.


The Hill /  David L. Goldwyn / October 29


Mexican President-Elect Pledges to Save Country’s Oil Sector

Sputnik News / October 15


MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to save the country’s oil sector just like former Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas, who headed the country from 1934 to 1940, had done.

In March 1938, Cardenas announced the nationalization of the oil industry, and only in 2013, the Mexican Congress approved an energy reform opening the oil sector to private companies, including the foreign ones.

“We will produce oil because oil and gas production has been decreasing since the beginning of the energy reform. We will save the oil industry like Gen. Cardenas did in 1938,” Lopez Obrador posted on Twitter late on Sunday.

In September, Lopez Obrador, who won the election in July and will assume office on December 1, pledged that crude oil production would increase up to 2.6 million barrels per day from the current level of 1.8 million barrels per day by the end of his six-year-long administration.

In August, Pemex, Mexico’s major oil and gas company, produced oil at the average level of 1,816 million barrels per day, which is a 5.9 percent decrease year-on-year, and a 28 percent decrease compared with the notch registered in August 2013.


Sputnik News / October 15


Feature: Mexico’s oil industry cautiously optimistic of future energy policy

S&P Global / Daniel Rodriguez / Edited by Pankti Mehta / October 1


Mexico City — Oil and gas executives attending last week’s Mexican Petroleum Congress (CMP) in Acapulco told S&P Global Platts that they were cautiously optimistic about the future of the country’s energy reform, pointing to higher oil prices and some clarification of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s policies.

The conference took place as Lopez Obrador held a closed-door meeting with the country’s association of hydrocarbon producers, AMEXHI, on Thursday in Mexico City.

The incoming administration gave a firm message: Mexico will continue the energy reform and private upstream investment as long as they can deliver results by boosting output.

The meeting cleared some uncertainties that had built up since Lopez Obrador’s electoral victory in July. Obrador has been historically opposed to private investment in Mexico’s energy sector.


According to a video of the meeting obtained by Platts, Lopez Obrador told operators that the future of the reform rested on their shoulders.

“We want to give you the opportunity to invest and work on this reform,” Lopez Obrador said. However, companies must invest and boost output to prove the success of the country’s new energy model.

The president-elect said his goal is that private operators produce 280,000 b/d of crude oil and 305 MMcf/d of the natural gas by the end of his term in 2024. “That would be the ideal. We aren’t asking for more and we are happy with that level,” he said.

This is a very conservative projection compared to the 430,000 b/d estimate shared by outgoing Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell at the inauguration of CMP.

At a webcast press conference Thursday, Mexico’s future energy secretary Rocio Nahle said that auction rounds would be halted. She said the country first needs to evaluate the 110 contracts awarded to date because they have not helped boost domestic production.

“It would be irresponsible to continue auctioning areas without a previous production gain [from awarded areas],” Nahle said.


AMEXHI members are allies of the state and can collaborate with Pemex to “continue strengthening Mexico’s energy security,” Alberto de la Fuente, AMEXHI’s president, said in a statement Thursday.

This message of partnership was also shared by senior executives from BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, DEA Deutsche Erdoel, Equinor, and Shell at the CMP.

“We aren’t here to replace Pemex but to complement it and help to achieve the incoming administration’s goal of boosting oil output,” Steve Pastor, BHP Billiton’s president for petroleum operations, told Platts last week at the CMP.

De la Fuente denied that private operators were uncertain over the review of contracts awarded by the country’s National Hydrocarbon Commission (CNH).

In the statement, he said that AMEXHI members left the meeting with the incoming administration with the knowledge that Lopez Obrador will honor their contracts.

However, some industry members expressed their frustration to Platts at the conference about an apparent lack of understanding from the incoming administration on the long-term nature of the upstream industry.


At the meeting with AMEXHI members, Lopez Obrador said his administration would work with regulators to cut the red tape and quicken the development of new projects.

“Some of you have told me permits take too long, and regulators delay your investment plans as well as Pemex’s activities,” Lopez Obrador said. “We are going to solve all bureaucratic roadblocks.”

Juan Carlos Zepeda, CNH’s president commissioner, told reporters Friday there was space to make the regulatory process leaner and more efficient while protecting the wellbeing of the country’s fields and hydrocarbon resources.

“We share views with President-elect Lopez Obrador and the industry … we are working toward that path without neglecting our responsibility of protecting Mexico’s reservoirs,” Zepeda said.

Right now, Mexico is more efficient than the US when it comes to the development of wells as CNH only requires notice from the operators instead of regulatory approvals, Zepeda said.

Also, CNH is working on a new process to expedite the approval of exploratory and development programs, which is currently under public consultation, he added.

A major regulatory roadblock for Mexico’s upstream sector has been Pemex’s framework to farmout projects via CNH auctions, Pemex senior officials said at CMP.

Zepeda said he supports the idea of Pemex being able to choose its own farm out partners. However, the company should maintain transparency levels upheld by CNH.


S&P Global / Daniel Rodriguez / Edited by Pankti Mehta / October 1


Mexico oil production to reach 2.6 mil b/d by 2025: Lopez Obrador

S&P Globals Platts / Wendy Wells / Daniel Rodríguez / September 11


Mexico City — Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Sunday he plans to focus on developing and exploring onshore and shallow water areas under the control of state oil company Pemex to boost the country’s oil production.

“We have a projection, and our plan is to have production of at least 2.6 million b/d by the end of the presidential term; additional production of 800,000 b/d,” Lopez Obrador said in webcast press conference.

Lopez Obrador was speaking to journalists after a meeting with Mexican drilling and oil service companies at Villahermosa in Tabasco.

Mexico’s production averaged 1.8 million b/d in July, down from an historical high of 3.4 million b/d in 2004, latest data from Mexico’s National Hydrocarbon Commission showed.

Lopez Obrador said the incoming administration plans to tender drilling contracts in December when his six-year term begins to develop Pemex’s shallow water and inland areas to boost oil production. “We are inviting all companies to participate in these tenders. However, we will have a preference over domestic contractors,” he added.

He said he planned to add Peso 75 billion ($3.9 billion) to Pemex’s exploration and production budget to boost drilling and thus raise output. The tenders will help Mexico reverse its production downtrend by the end of 2019, he added.

Mexico’s oil industry is at a crisis as a result of low public investment in the sector. Pemex in 2017 had an E&P capital expenditure budget of Peso 81.5 billion, down from Peso 222 billion in 2014, the company’s annual financial statements show. The cut in Pemex’s budget resulted in a significant decrease in drilling activity; it drilled 83 wells in 2017, compared with 705 in 2013.

Lopez Obrador blamed the previous administration for Pemex’s lower capital expenditure, claiming it was done on purpose amid expectations the private sector would offset lower activity from the state company. “It has been a complete failure, this wrongly named energy reform,” Lopez Obrador said

The president-elect has historically been an opponent of private participation in Mexico’s energy sector. His critics note Pemex’s spending cuts reflect lower global oil prices after 2014.

The president-elect neither mentioned the long-term nature of the energy sector nor the advances made by Eni at Amoca, PanAmerica with Hotchi and Talos with Zama, where peak production across the three fields could be above 250,000 b/d.

Analysts also point out that Lopez Obrador does not acknowledge that it has been a challenge for Mexico to replace production from the aging Cantarell super field, which produced 2.1 million b/d in 2003 and but 160,000 b/d in July.

Mexico won’t call for new hydrocarbon auction rounds until all 107 contracts awarded to date under the energy reform are reviewed for corruption, Lopez Obrador said.

“The majority aren’t working, there is no investment, but those 107 contracts don’t include all the oil regions in the country, just a fraction of Mexico’s hydrocarbon potential,” he added.

The president-elect did not indicate when this contract review process could conclude. Currently, Mexico’s National Hydrocarbon Commission is organizing two gas-rich auction rounds, which are expected to be awarded in February.

The commission postponed both auctions as well as a Pemex’s auction to farm out seven onshore clusters in southern Mexico from this summer until the coming year, citing a request from the industry for more time to analyze the areas as well as the opportunity to involve the incoming administration in the process.

Lopez Obrador said the state owns all of Mexico’s oil resources, and has greater control over areas that have not yet been assigned. “The greater majority of our oil potential is still under the control of Pemex,” he added.


S&P Globals / Wendy Wells / Daniel Rodríguez / September 11


Is Mexico Set To Boost Oil Output?

Oil Price / By The Dialogue / August 16


On July 27, Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government will earmark more than $9 billion for state-run energy companies next year and start working on a new oil refinery in southern Mexico. The moves seek to reduce reliance on fuel imports from the United States while boosting the country’s oil production, which has significantly fallen off in recent years. López Obrador did not say how he would fund his proposals, an omission that worries analysts concerned about Pemex’s already heavy debt burden. He also announced Octavio Romero Oropeza as the incoming head of Pemex. Will the promised investment help accelerate Pemex’s oil and gas production? What else is needed to boost output? How well prepared is Romero Oropeza to lead Pemex, and what should his priorities be? Four Mexican energy experts weighed in with their opinions on these developments.

George Baker, publisher of Mexico Energy Intelligence in Houston: The 116-page energy sector document that the Morena transition team issued on July 10 sports both good and bad ideas. First, among the good ideas, is advocating independent unions in the oil sector (the first time since 1935 that a political party has done this). Second is suspending until further review the so-called farm-outs of Pemex—the idea that civil servants (Pemex employees) and market-disciplined managers of oil companies can have a joint venture based on sharing risk and reward only makes sense on paper. Third is promoting the concept of intelligent cities, including low energy consumption, renewable energy and intelligent grids. A fourth good idea is expanding the grid of natural gas pipelines and the use of renewable energy sources and cogeneration. Among the bad ideas: first is reactivating the refinery project in Tula and analyzing the construction of another refinery in the Gulf of Mexico. Pemex refinery upgrades have gone badly for the past 20 years, notably in Cadereyta, Villahermosa and Tula. A new refinery could take three years just for design and another three for contracting and financing. López Obrador would likely leave office before the first shovelful of earth was turned for the new refinery. Second is the upgrade of the role of Pemex in the energy space. The Morena team proposes to eliminate the so-called ‘asymmetrical regulations’ that restrict Pemex to compete effectively—to aspire to ‘make Pemex great again’ as a state agency is to ignore global success stories of state oil companies with mixed-equity structures, market financing and professional management. Finally, a third bad idea is to overstate (and obfuscate) the potential for change via public policy: there is nothing that is actionable in statements such as ‘the necessary investments in Pemex should be made,’ or ‘efforts to increase exploration and production of natural gas should be made to favor the petrochemical industry,’ or ‘deepen and coordinate all efforts to eliminate the black market in petroleum products.’ Notably, one word that does not appear in the text is ‘corruption,’ an unexpected omission by a candidate that vowed to end corruption by example. Finally, former Pemex director general Adrián Lajous recently calculated the average tenure of a director general as two years and four months. Pemex, legally configured as an agency of the federal government, always has a dozen cooks in its kitchen of corporate governance. If a director general had the authority to order early retirement for 35,000 Pemex unionized workers, there would be opportunities for leadership.

David Shields, independent energy consultant based in Mexico City: In a previous comment for the Energy Advisor on June 15, I mentioned that President-elect López Obrador’s energy team has excellent, progressive plans in renewable energy. Sadly, the same does not apply to conventional energy. The naming of Octavio Romero and Manuel Bartlett to head state-run Pemex and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has been severely criticized because of their hardline political, ideological, non-technical, non-business nature. They may be okay for rooting out corruption, but they add to fears that recent energy reforms may be rolled back, even if they and López Obrador himself deny legal amendments will be made. Congress will ultimately decide on this, and the outlook there is bad. Reforms can be reversed in practice, anyway, just through day-to-day opposition. López Obrador says he will push oil output up sharply to 2.5 million barrels per day, but reserves and reservoirs are largely depleted, there are no new discoveries, and there is not enough money for a vast exploration effort. Foreign operators will need several years to develop their projects. His best bet for ramping up output quickly would be fracking, but he promises to prohibit that, thinking that environmental risks will be greater than the benefits. His refining plans are unrealistic, too. López Obrador´s native Tabasco State offers the wrong site and the wrong logistics for a large-scale refinery to be built in just three years. Such a project normally requires two years to study, plan and tender, then another five or six years to build. Even then, it can hardly be profitable if Mexico produces and processes only very heavy crude. Intentions to rescue Pemex and reduce reliance on energy imports are good, but the prospects are not.


Oil Price / By The Dialogue / August 16


Mexican energy sector overhaul could reduce U.S. export demand

Chron / Katherine Blunt / August 6


An ambitious plan to boost Mexico’s oil and gas production could potentially slow the country’s energy sector reforms and hinder trade opportunities for U.S. refiners and pipeline companies that have ramped up exports to meet growing demand there, according to research firm Morningstar.

Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced late last month a plan to invest billions of dollars in Pemex, the country’s state-owned energy company, in an effort to  reverse years of declining production. He also reaffirmed his intent to review more than 100 exploration and production contracts awarded to private oil and gas companies since the 2013 reforms, which opened the country’s energy sector to foreign investment for the first time in decades.

Mexico’s energy reforms are enshrined in its constitution, and López Obrador has said that he will he will honor existing contracts so long as they don’t reveal corruption. But Morningstar noted that any effort to scale back the reforms or increase Mexican energy production could jeopardize some $200 billion in outside investments planned for the country’s oil and gas, power, refining and distribution sectors.

Part of López Obrador’s plan involves investing $2.6 billion to upgrade the nation’s six existing refineries as well as building a new, $8.6 billion refinery at the oil port of Dos Bocas in Tabasco. The country’s existing refineries have been operating at less than 70 percent capacity since 2012, according to Mexico’s energy department, requiring the country to import more gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products.


Chron / Katherine Blunt / August 6