Mexico Will Defer Oil Exploration Projects to Slash Spending

3/1/16 ABC

energy- oil pumps 2The state-run oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, said Monday it will slash spending 22 percent and cut unprofitable production about 100,000 barrels a day as it struggles with liquidity problems and past-due payments to suppliers.

The company, known as Pemex, said it will cut $5.5 billion from its 2016 budget, delay deep-water exploration and decrease production of super-heavy crude because of low world oil prices.

Delaying production and exploration projects will account for about two-thirds of the $5.5 billion spending cut.

Pemex still faces a serious issue: It owes suppliers almost $7 billion, a debt the company acknowledges is a problem.

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Mexican economy slows in fourth quarter as industry sinks

2/24/16 Reuters

pemex2Mexican growth slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter as industry contracted by the most in over two years despite steady services expansion, data showed on Tuesday.

The economy MXGDPQ=ECI grew by about 0.5 percent from the prior quarter, below the 0.8 percent rate in the third quarter and expectations of 0.6 percent from analysts in a Reuters poll.

The industrial sector, which has been hit by sinking oil prices and production at state oil giant Pemex [PEMX.UL], fell 0.4 percent compared to the third quarter, its biggest drop since the second quarter of 2013.

Services, which buoyed growth last year, grew by 0.9 percent, slightly below the 1 percent pace of expansion in the third quarter.

Latin America’s No. 2 economy suffered last year from uneven U.S. demand for its exports and recent weakness in U.S. factory output could further drag on Mexico.

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energy - oil pumps

Why Lower Oil Prices Don’t Hurt Mexico as Much as They Used To

2/23/16 Bloomberg

Oil Rig 2 by Flickr user tsuda

The tumble in global oil prices has sent Mexico’s currency to a record low and forced the nation to cut spending and raise interest rates. Yet for all the focus on crude, Latin America’s second-largest economy is actually less dependent on oil revenue than at any time in the past decade.

The chart below shows the percentage of the federal budget that comes from oil sales. While they’ve traditionally funded more than one third of the government’s spending, that contribution dropped to less than 20 percent last year.

You might think the decrease in oil’s contribution is due mainly to lower prices and production, but the data show otherwise. The increase in non-oil tax revenue last year exceeded the drop in oil revenue by 174 billion pesos ($9.6 billion), or 4 percent of total revenue, showing that the higher non-oil intake was a bigger factor than falling crude. Other sources of revenue, like income from government services and state-owned companies other than oil monopoly Pemex, contribute another 25 percent to the total federal intake.

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US dollars

Bank of Mexico Sold $2 Billion Last Week to Boost Peso

2/23/16 Nazdaq

US dollars

MEXICO CITY—The Bank of Mexico said Tuesday it sold $2 billion in U.S. dollars on the foreign-exchange market last week to support the peso.

The country’s foreign-exchange commission, which includes central-bank and Finance Ministry officials, last week approved direct intervention in the currency markets to help lift the peso. Officials say the peso’s weakness isn’t justified by the country’s solid economic fundamentals.

The switch from daily dollar auctions by the central bank to unannounced dollar sales was accompanied by other measures including a surprise interest-rate increase by the Bank of Mexico and plans to cut government spending this year by 0.7% of gross domestic product.

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That Didn’t Work as Planned: Mexico’s Oil Monopoly Ends, Then Oil Tanks

2/23/16 Bloomberg

Enrique Pena NietoThe timing couldn’t have been worse. The end of the 76-year Petroleos Mexicanos monopoly was supposed to unleash an investment flood with companies rushing to develop massive oil reserves. It was going to be historic, and then came the rout.

“It’s tragic that Mexico waited so long to open the sector and that when an administration finally passed a meaningful energy reform, the bottom just falls out of oil prices,” said Tim Samples, a Mexican-energy analyst at the University of Georgia in Athens. “The parade did not last very long.”

Now opponents of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who was accused in some quarters of treason when he denationalized the industry in 2014, are saying they’re being proven right. Some want to bring the monopoly back. “A reform needs to be done to the energy reform,” said Jesus Zambrano, president of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the national legislature, last week.

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What next for Pemex?

2/9/2016 Forbes.com

By Duncan Wood, Director of the Mexico Institute

Pemex LogoThe news that Emilio Lozoya, CEO of Mexican National Oil Company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) would be stepping down came as no great surprise to many observers of Mexican oil politics. The company has been in deep trouble for over a decade now and, although Lozoya only took over 3 years ago, he has been able to do little to stem the tide of bad news during his tenure at the top of the organization. From a high point in crude oil production in 2004 of 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd), Pemex now only produces around 2.2 million bpd, and that total is predicted to fall further in the coming months. Combined with the low oil price internationally, that means a lot less revenue for Pemex, but more importantly, less fiscal revenue for Lozoya’s political bosses in the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Mexico’s government has depended on oil for up to 35% of its revenue over the past decade, but with lower prices and lower production, that total has fallen closer to 20%, leaving a growing gap in the federal budget, that has been covered by cutting spending in infrastructure projects and government salaries and services.

The money problem afflicting Pemex has largely been caused by successive Mexican governments treating the NOC as a cash cow, and the truth is that the company has been milked to death. This year’s cuts in the Pemex budget and the calls for layoffs are only the latest manifestation of a long-running abuse of the company by the Mexican federal government. But the decline in Pemex and government revenues is only one part of the unholy trinity of problems that has been afflicting the NOC in recent years.

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Mexico Topples Oil Theft Ring, But Cartel Threat Lingers Over State Petroleum Company

08/08/14 Vice News

oil pipeline150Mexico has taken down a criminal ring dedicated to stealing oil from its state petroleum monopoly Pemex, authorities said on Wednesday night, part of efforts to clamp down on out-of-control oil thefts that have grown exponentially in recent years during the country’s drug war.

The federal attorney general’s office said five people were arrested in connection with a cell of oil thieves, after 14 search warrants were served in three regions of the country. Authorities seized ten properties, at least $20,000 dollars, and numerous tractors, trailers, firearms, luxury vehicles, and jewels.

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