Tags: Mexico | oil | exploration | Exxon

Pena Nieto Said to Delay Mexico Oil Bill Amid Talks

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 01:51 PM

President Enrique Pena Nieto will delay the announcement of his proposal to end Mexico’s seven-decade state energy monopoly until next week, said a person briefed on the matter.

Pena Nieto was planning to present the bill as soon as today, Cesar Camacho, president of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, said yesterday. The delay comes as political parties extend negotiations, said the person, who isn’t authorized to speak publicly about the president’s plans. Building better relationships with rival political parties and correcting errors made in the text are the main reasons for the holdup, newspaper El Universal reported yesterday.

The president’s office didn’t return phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment after government office hours yesterday.

Pena Nieto is seeking to change the constitution to allow companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. to pump crude in the nation with Latin America’s third-largest proven oil reserves for the first time since 1938, Camacho said. An even more aggressive proposal delivered last week by an opposition party is increasing Pena Nieto’s chances of pushing the bill through Congress, according to Nomura Holdings Inc.

“Although we’d like to have the reform approved as is, it’s obvious that won’t occur,” Camacho said by telephone. “It’s necessary to listen to many voices and for the legislators to come to an agreement on the essential topics.”

Mexico’s peso fell 0.6 percent to 12.7007 per U.S. dollar at 9:57 a.m. in Mexico City, the biggest decline among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The proposal’s delay is “seen in a very bad light,” Roberto Galvan, a currency trader at Intercam Casa de Bolsa SA, said in a telephone interview today.

Output Slump

The bill to loosen state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos’s grip on crude output and attract investment needed to reverse an eight-year production drop would be the economy’s biggest overhaul since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

Pena Nieto, a 47-year-old former governor who took office in December, will propose production-sharing contracts for oil exploration and output, while drawing the line at offering private companies equity stakes in concessions, Camacho said. He declined to say which constitutional articles would be modified.

Exxon, the world’s most valuable energy company, Chevron and Spanish oil producer Repsol SA are among companies that have expressed interest in Mexico’s oil fields. Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers wasn’t immediately available for comment, an assistant said by phone yesterday.

A press official who isn’t an authorized spokesperson for Pemex, as Petroleos Mexicanos is known, said the company won’t comment until Pena Nieto’s proposal is released.

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President Enrique Pena Nieto will delay the announcement of his proposal to end Mexico's seven-decade state energy monopoly until next week, said a person briefed on the matter.
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 01:51 PM
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