More than a year after Mexican President Peña Nieto introduced an overhaul of the nation’s energy market, the Mexican Congress has approved bills that will reform the sector.
The bill creates laws that regulate hydrocarbons and its revenues, the electric industry, geothermal electricity and the Federal Electricity Commission, as well as the Coordinated Regulating Agencies of the Energy Sector and the Mexican Petroleum Fund for Stabilisation and Development. The bill also creates the National Agency of Industrial Security and Environmental Protection of the Hydrocarbon Sector.
The congress also amended laws affecting foreign investment, mining, public-private associations, national waters, public entities and organizations, governmental procurement, leasing and services, public works and related services, federal government organisation, tax coordination and public debt.
Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) is now a productive state owned company with a new tax regime, with budgetary autonomy, and with more competitiveness and transparency. The state-owned company will participate in the oil and gas electricity markets with non-regulatory roles.
The Ministry of Energy and the National Hydrocarbons Commission have until September 17 to evaluate the company's technical and financial ability to successfully perform upstream activities.
Ending the 75-year monopoly on its energy resources and opening the market for global investors, such as ExxonMobil or Chevron, to pump crude from its reserves was considered a controversial and bold step to revamp the country’s declining oil production, which hit an 18-year low in July 2013.
Mexico’s energy secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell said that in 2013, Mexico’s energy sector experienced a turning point in its history. In a sector diagnosis, it was revealed that Mexico had stopped producing about one million barrels of oil a day in less than a decade after the decline of the Cantarell field, which marked the end of an era of easy-access oil in Mexico. The report showed that Mexico’s natural gas demand increased but production decreased resulting in one-third of the country’s natural gas consumption being imported. Mexico is the world’s 10th largest producer of oil.
With investments from overseas, it is estimated that Mexico will increase its current oil production from 2.5 million barrels daily to 3 million by 2018 and 3.5 million by 2025. Natural gas production is expected to increase to 5,700 million cubic feet per day to 8,000 million by 2018 and 10,400 million by 2025.