Mexico investigates opening oil to private investment

After decades of relying entirely on government-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, the Mexican government has begun public discussion about opening oil exploration and development to private investment, according to Bloomberg.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's International Energy Outlook 2011 reports that Mexico has the third largest oil reserves in the Latin America, behind Venezuela and Brazil. With 10.4 billion barrels the country boasts roughly half the reserves of the U.S.

But the country has seen eight consecutive years of declining production, despite dramatically rising investment in oil exploration, which quadrupled over the course of the past decade.

In response, both leading candidates in the presidential election slated for this July have raised the prospect of private investment in the sector, with Josefina Vazquez Mota even suggesting listing a stake in Pemex.

"The taboo has been broken" Pemex board member Hector Moreira told Bloomberg. "People talking about private stakes -- it’s a first step. And it’s a step that’s not prompting a negative reaction from the public."

The New York Times notes the country has already seen a changing approach to Pemex, which has received increased criticism for its management decisions in recent years.

Information on the Mexican oil market can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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