Mexico tries to kick start energy sector

Aug. 13, 2013 at 7:50 AM
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MEXICO CITY, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The Mexican president said he hoped to revive the energy sector by giving foreign companies limited access to an otherwise state-controlled part of the economy.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto outlined a proposal to revive the oil and natural gas sector by bringing in more foreign investments. His proposal keeps energy company Petroleos Mexicanos in state hands and offers foreign companies a chance to share profits. They are not, however, afforded the right to keep any of the natural reserves produced in the country under this provision.

The proposal would amend parts of the Mexican constitution. It calls for "strengthening the role of the state" in the energy sector by providing it with "new tools for defining and driving the country's energy policy to allow for appropriate and prudent management of national petroleum wealth."

Pena Nieto took control in December of a country struggling to revitalize its energy sector. He pledged to invest more than $300 billion in infrastructure. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Mexico's oil output should average 2.8 million bpd for 2013, a 50,000 bpd decline from 2012.

The president's political rivals said privatization efforts would rob the country of its oil wealth. Daniel Kerner, the director for Latin America at risk consultant Eurasia Group, told the McClatchy news service the proposal was "limited."

The proposals go before lawmakers this year.

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