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Mexico may allow private companies to extract oil

December 10, 2013
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Mexico could boost its oil industry by opening up to private companies, putting an end to a monopoly that has governed the industry for 75 years, if the proposal of a Senate committee becomes law, Bloomberg reported.

The proposal to amend Mexico's constitution and allow private investors access to the country's oilfields comes from members of the two largest political parties. If the bill is approved, the Mexican government will be able to grant contracts for exploration and extraction of oil and gas to various multinational companies - an activity that is currently banned under the constitution. The committee also proposes that contracts should be signed with the state, without the participation of the state-run Petroleos Mexicanos, commonly referred to as Pemex, which is currently the sole oil and gas company in Mexico.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto described the reform as a cornerstone of his administration, while George Baker, a Houston-based energy consultant, commented in an interview with Bloomberg that the legislation was nothing short of historic and would lead to a revolution for the Mexican oil industry.

Official data from Pemex reveals that Mexico's shale gas reserves are estimated at about 460 trillion cubic feet. The bill is set to go through debates in Senate before it can be approved. The country's third-largest party is against the liberalization of Mexico's oil market, Bloomberg noted.

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