Latin America Advisor

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Will AMLO’s Energy Strategy Boost Pemex’s Output?

López Obrador // File Photo: Notimex.

On July 27, Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government will earmark more than $9 billion for state-run energy companies next year and start working on a new oil refinery in southern Mexico. The moves seek to reduce reliance on fuel imports from the United States while boosting the country’s oil production, which has significantly fallen off in recent years. López Obrador did not say how he would fund his proposals, an omission that worries analysts concerned about Pemex’s already heavy debt burden. He also announced Octavio Romero Oropeza as the incoming head of Pemex. Will the promised investment help accelerate Pemex’s oil and gas production? What else is needed to boost output? How well prepared is Romero Oropeza to lead Pemex, and what should his priorities be?

George Baker, publisher of Mexico Energy Intelligence in Houston: “The 116-page energy sector document that the Morena transition team issued on July 10 sports both good and bad ideas. First, among the good ideas, is advocating independent unions in the oil sector (the first time since 1935 that a political party has done this). Second is suspending until further review the so-called farm-outs of Pemex—the idea that civil servants (Pemex employees) and market-disciplined managers of oil companies can have a joint venture based on sharing risk and reward only makes sense on paper. Third is promoting the concept of intelligent cities, including low energy consumption, renewable energy and intelligent grids. A fourth good idea is expanding the grid of natural gas pipelines and the use of renewable energy sources and cogeneration. Among the bad ideas: first is reactivating the refinery project in Tula and analyzing the construction of another refinery in the Gulf of Mexico. Pemex refinery upgrades have gone badly for the past 20 years, notably in Cadereyta, Villahermosa and Tula. A new refinery could…”

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A sister publication of the Inter-American Dialogue’s daily Latin America Advisor, the weekly Energy Advisor captures fresh analysis from business leaders and government officials on the most important developments in oil and gas, biofuels, the power sector, renewable energies, new technologies, and the policy debates shaping the future of energy in the Western Hemisphere. To subscribe or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at

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