By David Luhnow and Laurence Iliff
The Wall Street Journal
For decades, Mexico’s energy policy has largely boiled down to exporting oil for cash to fund state spending. Now the new government is negotiating with rival political parties to curb that practice and instead use state monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos to a different end: cheaper energy, said Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the 38-year-old chief said the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto was striving to overhaul tax and energy laws this year that Mr. Lozoya said would result in cheaper energy for consumers and companies that could drive a more competitive economy.
Now, the Mexican government relies on Pemex, one of the world’s biggest oil firms, for 35% of government spending, leaving the company with little left over to invest in areas like natural gas. Private companies, meanwhile, are largely barred from investing thanks to Mexico’s nationalistic energy laws.
The result is an energy-rich country where companies often pay higher prices for energy than elsewhere. Mexico has large reserves of natural gas, for instance. But since Pemex doesn’t invest enough in gas, the country imports gas from the U.S.—raising costs to Mexican firms as they try to compete with global players like China.