Oil rounds, three years

This December 1, it is three years of the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

It is a good time to take stock of what has happened with the de facto suspension of the opening to national and international private investment in oil exploration and exploitation.

The López Obrador government’s policy in this matter began, in fact, months before it took power, when it ordered the suspension of the oil rounds.

Not a dozen oil rounds were completed because the then president-elect – with the submission of the acting president, Enrique Peña Nieto – ordered the suspension of the auctions in which the large world and local oil companies participated in order to obtain authorization to the exploration and exploitation of the blocks into which the waters of the Gulf of Mexico were subdivided.

In general terms, the president of Mexico from the beginning of his government criticized the opening of the Mexican oil sector.

He has claimed that it was actually a hoax because investors promised large investments and “the dollar never came.”

The nine oil rounds that were completed, the chief executive has said, were a hoax, a scam.

However, official and private information indicate just the opposite.

Yes, the dollarization has arrived and the government is the main beneficiary by virtue of the fact that the oil income of the Mexican State established in the contracts is 74%, one of the highest percentages in the world.

This means in other words that most of the income derived from the total production of the contracts is for Mexico.

In other words, these are multimillion-dollar investments by international companies that run the risk when exploring and extracting oil and pay a high income to the Mexican State, without the government investing a fifth of its budget.

The numbers reveal that large investments have been made, that there is a large amount committed and that, of the 111 contracts signed by the Mexican government with private companies, only 34 have already started exploitation.

The rest are still in the exploration process and when they start the extraction, the results will surely be much greater.

What President López Obrador says about the dollarization never coming is at least inaccurate.

According to the numbers of the Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies (Amexhi), the private oil industry has invested 18,000 million dollars.

In addition, 42,000 million dollars of investments are budgeted in plans approved by the National Hydrocarbons Commission.

This means that the presidential statement that “dollarization never came” is far from reality.

Furthermore, the main beneficiary has been the Mexican government because it has received, directly or through Petróleos Mexicanos, most of it.

The breakdown is as follows: $ 7.622 million have been made in investments made in hydrocarbon exploration and extraction projects; 2,872 million dollars in payments to the Mexican Petroleum Fund; 2,513 million dollars in transfers to Pemex; $ 4.657 million in payments to the National Hydrocarbons Information Center (CNIH); 400 million dollars in use of the National Hydrocarbons Commission and 2,550 million dollars in investments to strengthen national suppliers.

A little over three years have passed since the oil rounds stopped taking place with all the negative implications of losing the opportunity.

Three years have passed, in which, despite everything, private oil companies have invested and managed to drill 117 wells and operate an average of 825 wells.

They are generating 5.16 billion dollars in local content from 2015 to 2024; they have generated 56,000 direct and indirect jobs.

And the 1P, 2P and 3P reserves of hydrocarbons associated with the contracts have increased by six, seven and five times, respectively, from 2017 to date.

It is estimated that of the more than 42,000 million dollars of approved investments, 50% will materialize from 2019 to 2024.

Thats the reality. No more, but no less.

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Marco A. Mares


Rich and powerful

He has worked continuously in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet, in the last 31 years he has specialized in business, finance and economics. He is one of the three hosts of the Alebrijes, Águila o Sol program, a program specializing in economic issues that is broadcast on Foro TV.


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