Mexicans Want Pemex Reform, But Only As Long As It Does Not Involve Private Investment

 @PReyMallen on August 19 2013 1:10 PM
  • Mexico Pemex 2
    Employees walk on a bridge at the Mexico's state-run oil monopoly Pemex platform "Ku Maloob Zaap" in the Northeast Marine Region of Pemex Exploration and Production in the Bay of Campeche April 19, 2013. Reuters
  • Pemex Offshore Rig Ku Maloob Zaap
    Pemex's offshore rig Ku Maloob Zaap. Reuters
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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s energy-sector reform has been the talk of the country for the past week, and it looks like it will not stop any time soon, affecting as it does one of the central tenets of Mexican identity, the nation's huge oil industry. Mexican polling firm Buendía & Laredo, together with Mexican newspaper El Universal, conducted a survey about the proposed reforms, and found out that while most people support the changes to oil giant Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), they oppose the introduction of private investment in the company.

Almost a third of the polled population considered the energy reform a priority for the government (28 percent), closely followed by fighting corruption in the country (25 percent). In third position was an election reform (13 percent), a fiscal reform (9 percent), and measures to control debt (8 percent).

Six out of 10 Mexicans (62 percent) think that Pemex does need a deep reform, while 28 percent believe that the oil company works just fine as it is. Four people out of 10 think that the reform should include mostly the reinvestment of revenues to increase production, and 70 percent claim that the influence of unions should be reduced.

But while most of the population sees the need to reform the oil industry, focused on Pemex, a little over 60 percent say they do not want any private investment, and only 20 percent say they are in favor.

El Universal concludes that Mexicans do see the need of a reform in Pemex, but most would rather keep it off private hands in any form. The reason for this reticence go beyond the purely economical; the nationalization of the oil industry and the creation of Pemex in 1938 has been largely linked to the idea of Mexico’s financial independence, which now, after 70 years, might be in jeopardy once again.

The Pemex reform, presented by Peña Nieto on August 12, will be voted by the Mexican Senate in September. Opposition party Partido de la Revolución Democrática will present its own counter-proposal on Monday August 19. 

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