MEXICO CITY — For Mexico, 2016 is drawing to a close as a difficult year. The security situation has shown no signs of improvement, with fighting among organized criminal groups and the spike in the homicide rate that occurred in 2015 (after a hopeful decline from 2011 to 2014) continuing into the first nine months of the year. In turn, low oil prices and increasing public debt levels prompted budget cuts that have impacted government spending, notably in state-owned oil company Pemex.
In this context, a sign of hope at the end of 2016 concerns developments around energy reform, the vast legal change passed in 2013 that opened up hydrocarbon exploration and production to private sector investment. Specifically, on December 5th all eyes will be fixed on the results of the fourth round of the first bidding process (Round 1.4) to undertake exploration and production in 10 deep water oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.