Mexico uncovers long-awaited energy reform this week

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is set to unveil this week a long-awaited energy reform that seeks to open up the country’s oil industry to private investment, for the first time in 75 years.

All eyes will be on the announcement, as Pena Nieto’s plan must balance the country’s need to boost its oil output with threats from nationalist opposition groups, which are announcing massive protests.

While oil and gas production in the US has soared thanks to shale deposits, some of which extend into Mexico, the state-owned monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has failed to develop the resource.

Despite being the world's 10th biggest producer of crude oil, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration, Mexico’s output has fallen by a quarter since hitting a peak of 3.4 million barrels per day in 2004.

“The energy reform process is crucial for Mexico — it is the mother of all reforms,” Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre in Washington, told FuelFix.com.

“So much hangs on the success of Mexico’s energy reform — economic growth, the competitiveness of the country, potentially massive job creation, fuel prices and the historical legacy of the Peña Nieto administration,” he was quoted as saying.

The proposal, to be sent for review by the Congress, is likely to amend several articles of the Mexican Constitution to eliminate historic barriers to private investment in the industry.

Image via Wikimedia Commons