Photo: Enrique Peña Nieto
President Enrique Peña Nieto says that Mexico, which currently imports 30 percent of its supply of natural gas and suffers shortages, could become an exporter of that fuel if an energy overhaul he sent to Congress this week is approved.
“It’s ironic that with Mexico being such a rich country, especially in gas, that we have to import a third of the country’s demand,” the president said at an event in which his government presented its strategy for boosting natural-gas supplies.
“Less than 20 years ago,” Mexico was “self-sufficient” in natural gas, but now it is dependent on foreign suppliers, he said, adding that it was necessary to correct that situation by clearing a path for private investment.
He said the energy-overhaul plan he presented to Congress on Monday would bolster the country’s “ability to explore for and produce natural gas,” predicting that it would allow gas production to increase “from 5.7 billion cubic feet per day (at present) to 8 billion in 2018 and more than 10.4 billion by 2025.”
The chairman of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Cesar Camacho, said Sunday that the goal of the overhaul plan was to open the way for Pemex to forge strategic alliances with private investors “in which the country does not lose control” over petroleum resources.
Constitutional amendments would be required to give foreign companies a share in oil and natural gas profits.
The left opposes any effort to privatize Mexican state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos or open the oil industry to private investment.
The leftist opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, plans to hold a national referendum on the future of Pemex, energy industry reform and an overhaul of the tax system.
Pemex has a monopoly on the production of oil and gas, as well as on the production of petroleum derivatives and the distribution of gasoline.
A senior Pemex executive said in an interview published late last month that the company needed $900 billion to develop its deep-water oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, estimated at 27 billion barrels.