October 3, 2013
PARA LA BOOM:
How Oil Reforms Could Trigger Mexico's Biggest Economic Boom In A Century (Christopher Helman, 10/02/13, Forbes)
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 3, 2013 2:08 PMMexico has one of the world's most notoriously closed-off oil industries. The Mexican constitution makes it illegal for anyone but the state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to even own a barrel of oil. If you're a farmer in Mexico and oil is discovered underneath your land, not one drop of the black gold is yours -- it belongs to the state, to the people. As a result, Pemex is the only game in town. There are no private companies operating oilfields in Mexico, no risk-based production sharing contracts or joint ventures with any international oil companies. This could not be more different than the United States, where private ownership of mineral rights is taken for granted.Yet Mexico's oil sector is set to begin a radical transformation. Under the leadership of President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico's congress will, by the end of this year (according to a half-dozen analysts I spoke to) pass a constitutional amendment to open up the sector to private investment. By this time next year the likes of ExxonMobil, PetroChina and Statoil could even have contracts in place to start exploring for Mexico's untapped oil and gas bounty.How big could these oil reforms be for Mexico's economy? Not only will it be bigger than the revolution in shale drilling and fracking has been in the United States, says Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, "This will be the most significant change in Mexico's economic policy in 100 years."