Mexico’s oil sector reforms face a challenge

Investment in exploration surveys in Mexico between 2015 and 2018
Between 2015 and 2018, an estimated $2.752 billion was invested in exploration surveys and studies in Mexico. Those investments are now in jeopardy (source: macpixxel for GIS)
  • Mexico’s new president has begun rolling back oil- and gas-sector reforms
  • The reforms were badly needed and had attracted investment
  • President Obrador’s moves could hinder development and hold Mexico back

Just six years ago, Mexico embarked on an ambitious economic reform program under the leadership of its center-left president at the time, Enrique Pena Nieto, who had come to power in 2012. The reforms were a major milestone, breaking with Mexico’s long-established precedent of reserving a dominant role for the state in the oil and gas sector. In 1938, Mexico was one of the first countries to nationalize its oil industry, and up until 2013 it was one of the few countries in the world and the only country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that remained closed to private international investment in its upstream oil and gas sector.

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