Exclusive: Mexico plans second deepwater oil tie-up in Maximino, Nobilis areas – sources

4/20/2017 Reuters

energy -drilling_platform_in_seaMexican state-run oil company Pemex plans a second deepwater “farm-out” joint venture in the Maximino and Nobilis areas in the Gulf of Mexico where super light crude has been found near the U.S. border, two people familiar with the matter said.

Speaking this week, the people said Pemex [PEMX.UL] would likely seek approval in June from the National Hydrocarbons Commission, or CNH, the industry regulator, to launch a tender for partners with the aim of announcing a winner in December.

“Maximino-Nobilis may be assigned in December and we hope the CNH will announce it in June,” said one of the sources. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are not yet public.

A Pemex spokesman said the firm was looking for a partner to develop Maximino and Nobilis, and that the proposal would be submitted for approval by the board in the next few days. The CNH would then need to decide on the time frame, he added.

The farm-outs are a central pillar of the government’s efforts to lure investment to Mexico since Congress opened up the country’s long-closed oil and gas industry to private investment in a legislative drive between 2013 and 2014.

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Mexico’s Jobless Rate at Multiyear Low

4/21/2017 The Wall Street Journal

33343292040_4c09135b2e_kMexico’s unemployment rate held steady in March at a multiyear low amid solid job creation in the private sector, which kept supporting consumption growth.

Unemployment among Mexico’s 54 million workforce was 3.5% seasonally adjusted last month, practically unchanged from February even as more people sought work, the National Statistics Institute said Friday. Underemployment and informal employment both fell from the previous month.

The March job numbers were “unambiguously good,” suggesting the economy has strengthened in early 2017, against expectations, PNC’s economist Bill Adams said in a note.

“In January, Mexico had seemed at risk of a recession in early 2017, even if Mexico’s trade relations with the United States remained status quo, because of large increases in energy prices and interest rates, as well as sharp drops in business and consumer sentiment,” he said.

Employment growth has lowered the jobless rate to pre-2008 crisis levels, supporting household spending, although a recent uptick in inflation has led to declines in real wages as consumer prices outpaced average contract wage raises in the first three months of the year.

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Exclusive: U.S. offers to fund Mexico heroin fight as 2016 output jumps – U.S. official

4/21/2017 Reuters

Opium_poppy_seed_and_flower_at_Budhha_lodge_of_Chaurikharka,NepalThe United States has offered to help fund Mexico’s efforts to eradicate opium poppies, the U.S. assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) said on Friday, as Mexican heroin output increased again last year.

“We would be prepared to support (opium eradication efforts) should we reach a basic agreement in terms of how they would do more and better eradication in the future,” William Brownfield of INL, part of the State Department, said in an interview.

“That is on the table, but I don’t want you to conclude that it’s a done deal, because we still have to work through the details,” he said, without specifying how much money the United States could provide.

The United States has offered to help fund Mexico’s efforts to eradicate opium poppies, the U.S. assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) said on Friday, as Mexican heroin output increased again last year.

“We would be prepared to support (opium eradication efforts) should we reach a basic agreement in terms of how they would do more and better eradication in the future,” William Brownfield of INL, part of the State Department, said in an interview.

“That is on the table, but I don’t want you to conclude that it’s a done deal, because we still have to work through the details,” he said, without specifying how much money the United States could provide.

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Leftist party activist killed in southern Mexico

4/20/2017 Associated Press

59145805_6b10fab368_bMEXICO CITY (AP) — Gunmen killed the leader of Mexico’s leftist Democratic Revolution Party in the southern state of Guerrero, authorities said Thursday.

The killing prompted Guerrero’s governor to cut short a trip to the United States aimed at convincing cruise ship lines that the state’s flagship resort, Acapulco, is safe enough to bring their ships back for visits.

Some cruise ships have stopped visiting the Pacific coast state because of continued violence, like the assassination late Wednesday of leftist politician Demetrio Saldivar. The state prosecutors’ office said Thursday that Saldivar was killed in the state capital, Chilpancingo. The office said a witness watched as two men blocked Saldivar with a car, then shot him to death before fleeing.

Saldivar was the state general secretary of the PRD party in Guerrero. Local media reported he had previously occupied a post in the state government.

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Treasury targets two Mexican companies connected to drug cartel

4/20/2017 The Hill

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Flickr/Roman Boed

The Treasury Department targeted on Thursday two Mexican companies that property management authorities say are connected to a drug cartel.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Yorv Inmobiliaria and Grupo Segtac, S.A. de C.V., property companies based out of central Mexico. Each company manages a Mexican shopping center that serves as a front for Los Cunis Drug Trafficking Organization.

The companies were designated as narcotics traffickers by OFAC, cutting them off from United States financial system and banning U.S. persons and companies from financial transactions with them.

OFAC designated the Los Cuinis DTO and its leader, Abigail Gonzalez Valencia, on April 8, 2015.

“OFAC will continue to target new front companies that have been created, or coopted, for the purpose of concealing the interests of Gonzalez Valencia, the Los Cuinis DTO, and their allies in order to evade sanctions,” said OFAC director John E. Smith. “In coordination with law enforcement and the Mexican government, OFAC will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt these organizations’ operations and assets.”

The Treasury Department action comes as the Trump administration focuses on hindering Latin American drug cartels and gangs, specifically MS-13.

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Mexico ex-governor arrested in Italy to face charges in U.S.

4/19/2017 Reuters

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Reuters/Daniel Aguilar/File Phot

A former state governor for Mexico’s ruling party who faces charges in Mexico and the United States will be prosecuted by U.S. authorities first, the U.S. and Mexican attorneys general said on Wednesday.

Tomas Yarrington, a former governor of Tamaulipas state for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was accused in 2013 by a federal grand jury in Texas of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the Gulf Cartel and other drug traffickers. He was arrested in Italy earlier this month.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mexican Attorney General Raúl Cervantes Andrade said in a joint statement that the plan to extradite Yarrington to the United States depended on agreement by Italian authorities.

A former state governor for Mexico’s ruling party who faces charges in Mexico and the United States will be prosecuted by U.S. authorities first, the U.S. and Mexican attorneys general said on Wednesday.

Tomas Yarrington, a former governor of Tamaulipas state for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was accused in 2013 by a federal grand jury in Texas of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the Gulf Cartel and other drug traffickers. He was arrested in Italy earlier this month.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mexican Attorney General Raúl Cervantes Andrade said in a joint statement that the plan to extradite Yarrington to the United States depended on agreement by Italian authorities.

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Mexico’s Televisa signs deal with Telefonica to distribute content

4/20/2017 Reuters

televisaMexican broadcaster Televisa said on Thursday it had signed a deal with Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica that would give the mobile operator’s customers cheaper access to the broadcaster’s content carried on its digital platform Blim.

The deal allows Grupo Televisa SA to compete with Carlos Slim’s telecoms firm America Movil SAB de CV , whose Telcel mobile unit allows its clients access to entertainment offerings from Slim’s Claro digital video service.

Under the terms of the deal, customers of Movistar, Telefonica’s local unit, will have access to content carried on Televisa’s Blim platform at a preferential rate, according to a statement.

Televisa shares were down 1.79 percent at 95.88 pesos ($5.09) in early afternoon trading.

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