Slim’s Billionaire Rivalry Plays Out on Mexico’s Soccer Fields

December 11, 2013

Bloomberg, 12/11/2013

Soccer StadiumMexican billionaires Carlos Slim and Emilio Azcarraga, who typically go head-to-head for phone customers and TV viewers, are taking their rivalry to the soccer field this week in their country’s championship game.

Slim, the owner of the nation’s biggest wireless carrier, is an investor in Club Leon, which is a finalist in Mexico’s national soccer league. The team is squaring off against reigning champ Club America, controlled by TV magnate Azcarraga, in a two-game series starting tomorrow in Leon’s home stadium.

Caught in the crossfire are the legions of Mexican soccer fans who won’t be able to watch because of an agreement to televise the match only on cable for the first time. After Slim’s America Movil  acquired a stake in Leon last year, the club signed a broadcast-rights deal with cable’s Fox Sports.

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Mexico Energy Bill to End Pemex’s Monopoly on Oil

December 9, 2013

Energy -electricity_transmission_linesThe Wall Street Journal, 12/7/2013

Mexico’s government and the main opposition party sealed a historic deal Saturday to open up the energy sector to competition, ending a 75-year-old monopoly of state-owned oil firm Petróleos Mexicanos, according to the final draft of the energy bill agreed upon by the two sides.

Mexico’s Congress is expected to pass the bill, which has been months in preparation, in the coming week.

The changes include amendments to three key articles of the Mexican constitution—25, 27 and 28—which form the legal core of the country’s nationalistic oil laws. The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, combined have sufficient votes in both houses of Congress to secure the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution.

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Mexico Joint Energy Proposal to Break $95 Billion Monopoly

December 9, 2013

energy - oil pumpsBloomberg, 12/9/2017

Senators from Mexico’s two biggest political parties proposed a bill to break the nation’s 75-year oil monopoly by amending the constitution to allow production sharing contracts and licenses for outside producers.

The joint legislation would allow private companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) to develop fields in the largest unexplored crude area after the Arctic Circle as state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos seeks to reverse eight years of falling output. The bill would allow companies to log crude reserves for accounting purposes, which may make it easier to secure project financing.

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Mexico watchdog weighs if America Movil, Televisa dominate sector

December 6, 2013

Reuters, 12/6/2013

Carlos Slim

Giant Mexican telco America Movil and broadcaster Televisa, the two companies likely to be most affected by the country’s telecoms reform, said on Thursday the regulator has told them it was determining whether they are dominant players in the sector.

The notifications are the first step in a process mandated by a telecoms reform passed by Mexico’s Congress earlier this year that gives the new Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) powers to clamp down on dominant players and spur competition.

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Telefonica Said to Seek Partner in Mexico to Challenge Slim

November 13, 2013

Bloomberg, 11/13/2013

carlos slimTelefonica SA  has approached potential acquisition targets and partners in Mexico, where it’s seeking to challenge billionaire Carlos Slim’s dominance, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Spain’s biggest telecommunications group has held discussions with companies including Grupo Iusacell SA, a smaller rival co-owned by Ricardo Salinas and pay-TV provider Grupo Televisa SAB, said the people, asking not to be named because the deliberations are private. Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA are working with Madrid-based Telefonica, said another person familiar with the matter.

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Energy: Focus on Pemex raises hopes of private investors

June 28, 2013

energy - oil_rigFinancial Times, 6/27/2013

Although some Mexicans celebrated the anniversary of the 1938 nationalisation of their oil and gas this year, there are high hopes that the industry is on the brink of important constitutional reform. If successful, the reforms will enable an influx of private investment in long-needed projects. This could transform the industry and boost the country’s economic competitiveness after decades of meagre investment contributed to the gradual decline of Pemex, the state oil monopoly that was once a source of national pride.

“Pemex’s infrastructure is stretched to the limit,” says Marcelo Mereles, a partner at Mexico City-based energy consultancy, EnergeA. “There is desperate need for investment,” he says, explaining that Pemex has become increasingly inefficient, with debilitating losses and steep production declines. With the election of Enrique Peña Nieto as president, winds of change have begun to blow. The construction of a $2.4bn gas pipeline that will connect Mexico with the US is under way, representing the country’s biggest energy infrastructure investment in 40 years. The Ramones project plan is for it eventually to meet one-fifth of Mexico’s demand for natural gas.

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Mexico’s President Pushes Reforms for State Oil Company Pemex

June 21, 2013

Enrique PeñaNieto 2Bloomberg, 6/20/2013

Petróleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex, has long been the third rail of Mexican politics. The state-owned company, originally based on oil fields seized from foreign owners over 70 years ago, has produced sizable government revenue and union jobs for hundreds of thousands of Mexicans. Foreign investment has been largely restricted.

But now Pemex’s main asset, the giant Cantarell offshore field, is shrinking fast. The company says it needs to boost annual investment by 46 percent, to $37 billion, to tap undeveloped shale-gas deposits and deep-water reserves. Without some private capital and expertise from abroad, Mexico risks becoming an importer in the next decade. Many of Mexico’s politicians and policymakers have known this for years. Yet Mexican nationalism, resistance from the unions, and the sheer size of the task of transforming Pemex have stood in the way.

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Pena Nieto Confident 75-Year Pemex Oil Monopoly to End This Year

June 18, 2013

Angelica Rivera (Flickr)Bloomberg, 6/18/2013

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he’s confident Congress will end the state oil monopoly this year, opening the way for companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to tap the nation’s reserves. In the model envisioned by Pena Nieto, state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos would develop some fields, while others are tapped by foreign and private companies. He declined to discuss more details of the proposal, or whether it would require a change in the constitution.

Seven decades after his party seized fields from the predecessors to Exxon and Shell, Pena Nieto is preparing for the return of international oil companies to arrest eight years of decline in crude output. An opening would probably be broad, from offshore drilling to shale fields similar to those that have revived the U.S. petroleum industry, Pena Nieto said. “It’s obvious that Pemex doesn’t have the financial capacity to be in every single front of energy generation,” the 46-year-old president said in an interview in London yesterday, before traveling to Northern Ireland for meetings with Group of Eight leaders. “Shale is one of the areas where there’s room for private companies, but not the only one.”

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OP-ED: Mexico’s Lucky to Have Just One Man Blocking Internet Equality. We’ve Got a Bunch

May 13, 2013

carlos slimWired, 5/13/2013

Loud laughter greeted Slim’s early remarks, and within a few minutes a major nonviolent protest erupted: kazoo-playing audience members trooped around the giant hall and left the building after flinging multicolored pieces of monopoly money into the air.

What was printed on that money? It bore the legend “$73 Billion Net Worth By Price Gouging & Overcharging.” And that’s when I realized that this moment represented a turning point: Monopoly communications industry behavior may finally become socially interesting in America. There are just a few steps between what’s happened in Mexico and what’s going on here in the United States.

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Can reform save Mexico’s oil industry?

March 27, 2013

Oil barrelsSmart Planet, 3/27/2013

Mexico owns a gold mine of oil, much of it just out of its reach. The country’s national oil monopoly, Petroleos Mexicanos, lacks the technology and expertise to drill the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where its latest oil finds lie. Historically, its hands have been tied: A prohibition on foreign partnerships and inadequate reinvestment in the business have prevented the company known best as Pemex from venturing beyond its shallow fields into the deep.

But the energy reform currently under debate could change that, opening Mexico’s oil sector to foreign investment –- if the new government can amass the legislative support it needs and surmount substantial public opposition.

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