Feb 20, 2013

Mexico Mired in Oil Debates

IPS by By Emilio Godoy

MEXICO CITY, Feb 20 2013 - Oil, the symbol of modern Mexico, is once again stirring up local political waters, with turbulent debates on the fate of the state-owned oil monopoly and conflicts over the privatisation of key economic and strategic areas.

The leading issues of contention revolve around the reform of Mexico’s state oil company Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos), pitting advocates of full state control, who call for only minor changes in the company’s administration, against proponents of opening the industry up to private capital in prospecting, crude refining, petrochemical and other activities.

“We have to get back to discussing these issues urgently, with a frank and open debate on the need to modernise, backed by solid arguments. Addressing safety, health, environmental and other practices in Pemex is a pressing matter,” Miriam Grunstein, a researcher with the state Economic Research and Teaching Centre, told IPS.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, of the traditional Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is in favour of a constitutional reform, proposed last year as part of his campaign platform. The reform would allow Pemex to receive investments from individuals and to partner up with private companies for crude petroleum exploration and extraction, without privatising the company.  Read more. 

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