Mexico’s Bid for Energy Reform Stirs Passion on Oil Patrimony
Mexico’s president seeks to stem falling oil production by luring foreign money and technology. But the privatization drive faces nationalistic opposition.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office in December, has confronted in oil and natural gas an issue central to Mexico's sense of sovereignty. The day in 1938 when President Lázaro Cárdenas kicked out the U.S. and British oil companies and nationalized Mexico's reserves is celebrated each year as a national holiday. Instead of paying fealty to the corporate interests of its powerful northern neighbor, Mexico eventually became one of the United States' most important oil suppliers, valued as a bulwark against the vicissitudes of OPEC.
But Mexico's secure position among the world's top oil producers is eroding. Its old oil fields are depleting rapidly, and state-owned monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, lacks both the money and technology to tap its