Oil and gas production in America has soared thanks to shale deposits, some of which extend into Mexico but which Pemex has failed to develop. Pemex also looks south with envy at the deep-water prowess of Brazil’s Petrobras, another state-controlled but more entrepreneurial firm.
Mexico’s government says it will shortly unveil big energy reforms. These may include changing the constitution to relax Pemex’s monopoly on oil production. As an indication of how politically sensitive this will be, the presidency let speculation grow that the reform would be announced on August 7th, only to admit the day before that it was not ready. Not only is it unclear how far the reforms will go, such is the state of Pemex that some doubt it is reformable at all.